Glossary of Terms to Promote a Common Language


Process of selecting representatives from an entire population. In large-scale assessment, there are typically two kinds of sampling procedures employed ­
1) sampling from the full range of possible content knowledge or skills to be assessed, and 2) sampling of the student population. In the first case, we are asking: what feasible and efficient sample of tasks or questions will enable us to make valid inferences about the student's overall competence since we cannot test the student on everything that was taught? In the second, we are talking about the composition of any sample of students from which we could validly infer conclusions about the overall performance of all students.

Support for learning. A term introduced by the psychologist Jerome Bruner to indicate support for someone's learning. Scaffolding usually consists of clues, examples, connections, reminders, encouragement, or anything that might enable a learner to extend his/her thinking about a problem. The idea is to encourage the learner to do his/her own thinking but with a little support, much like the use of training wheels on a bicycle that in time are removed.

SCANS (Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills):
The Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) was convened in February 1990 to examine the demands of the workplace and to determine whether the current and future workforce is capable of meeting those demands. The Commission was directed to: (1) define the skills needed for employment;(2) propose acceptable levels in those skills; (3) suggest effective ways to assess proficiency; and (4) develop a strategy to disseminate the findings to the nation's schools, businesses, and homes.

The Commission identified five competencies (i.e., skills necessary for workplace success) and three foundations (i.e., skills and qualities that underlie competencies).

COMPETENCIES ­ effective workers can productively use:

Resources ­ allocating time, money, materials, space, and staff;
Interpersonal Skills ­ working on teams, teaching others, serving customers, leading, negotiating and working well with people from culturally diverse backgrounds;
Information ­ acquiring and evaluating data, organizing and maintaining files, interpreting and communicating, and using computers to process information;
Systems -- understanding social, organizational, and technological systems, monitoring and correcting performance, and designing or improving systems;
­ selecting equipment and tools, applying technology to specific tasks, and maintaining and trouble-shooting technologies.

FOUNDATIONS -- -- competence requires:

Basic Skills ­ reading, writing, arithmetic and mathematics, speaking, and listening;
Thinking Skills -- thinking creatively, making decisions, solving problems, seeing things in the mind's eye, knowing how to learn and reasoning;
Personal Qualities ­ individual responsibility, self-esteem, sociability, self-management, and integrity.

schema theory:
A theory, which refers to a concept that, focuses on the relationship between prior knowledge and comprehension. The theory explains the way in which experiences and related concepts are stored in memory. Schema(schemata, pl.) is the individual's internal explanation of the nature of situations, objects, etc. that are encountered; it is the way knowledge is organized within the brain. These schemata are constantly being altered and/or changed as new knowledge is absorbed.

In reading comprehension,the schemata form the ties between reader and text. With no reliable experience or concepts, a reader would find the understanding of a selection to be most difficult. The importance of a purposeful building of background knowledge through prereading activity, structured comprehension follow-through, and experience-based vocabulary development to create the cognitive structures is apparent.

school culture:
The organization, structure, and practices deliberately carried out to create a school climate. It also includes the norms established by the principal (or principal and teachers collaboratively) for professional interactions, and for expectations for student learning (standards, stated or implicit).

school reform:
This is usually a term used to mean the attempt to improve schools. It is not a new term in the history of American education. The first major milestone in the current generation of education reform appeared in 1983 with the publication of the report A Nation at Risk. The report outlined the poor state of affairs within the K-12 environment, from low basic comprehension rates to high dropout rates. A Nation at Risk became the call to arms for administrators and policy makers and ushered in the recent national wave of education reform.

A cooperative initiative of education, labor, business, government,parents, and communities designed to broaden the educational, career,and economic opportunities for all students (Public Law 101-392), known as Perkins. The school-to-work movement is the latest incarnation of the progressive educational idea that there should be an interface between the learning that takes place in school and the real-world life of work and career. They point to the need to involve students in apprenticeships, internships, and similar awareness-creating roles.

school-to-work opportunities program:
A "School-to-Work Opportunities program" includes:
integrated school-based and work-based learning that integrates academic and occupational learning and links between secondary and post secondary education,the opportunity for participating students to complete a career major,the provision of a strong experience in and understanding of all aspects of the industry a student is preparing to enter, and equal access for students to a full range of program components and related activities, such as recruitment, enrollment, and placement activities. However, these services are not offered as entitlement.

In addition to general program requirements, a school-to-work program also must feature a school-based learning component, a work-based learning component, and a connecting activity component. At a minimum, these programs should include:

school-based learning component
Career awareness and career exploration and counseling programs beginning at the earliest possible age, but not later than 7th grade;

  1. Career major selection not later than the beginning of 11th grade;
  2. A program of study that meets the academic standards the state has established for all students, including, where applicable, standards established under the Goals 2000 Act, and meets the requirements for post secondary education preparation and skill certificate award;
  3. A program of instruction and curriculum that integrates academic and vocational learning and incorporates instruction to the extent practicable, in all aspects of an industry;
  4. Regular evaluations of students and dropouts to identify their academic strengths and weaknesses, workplace knowledge, goals, and need for additional learning opportunities; and
  5. Procedures that ease student entry into additional training or post-secondary education programs, and that ease the transfer of students between education and training programs.

Work-Based Learning Component

  1. Work experience opportunities;
  2. Job training and work experiences coordinated with learning in school-based programs that are relevant to students' career major choices, and lead to the award of skill certificates;
  3. Workplace mentoring;
  4. Instruction and activities in general work place competencies, including positive work attitudes, employability, and practicable skills; and
  5. Broad instruction, to the extent practicable, in all aspects of the industry.

Connecting Activities Component

  1. Matching students with work-based learning opportunities of employers;
  2. School-site mentors to act as liaisons among school, employer and community partners;
  3. Technical assistance to small- and medium-sized firms and other parties;
  4. Assistance to schools and employers in integrating school-based and work-based learning;
  5. Encouraging active participation of employers in cooperation with local education officials;
  6. Assistance to participants in finding jobs, continuing their education, or entering additional training and linking them with other community services to assure a successful transition;
  7. Collecting and analyzing post-program outcomes of participants; and
  8. Linking youth development activities and other employer and industry strategies.

Schools-within-schools refers to an organizational and administrative structure in secondary schools that groups the students by curriculum areas with either an academic or occupational focus. There may be two or more "schools" within a particular school building, and students are free to choose which school they enter. Sometimes called academies, they focus on a particular occupational or academic area, such as the health sciences, business, or the arts. Many times they involve a cohort of students and a select number of teachers who stay together for 2 or 3 years. Learning is thematic and often ties to community activities and involvement.Proponents of such an arrangement see it as a way to give students and parents curriculum choices, to bring real world application to learning,and to combat the impersonal effects of large secondary schools because of the smaller student cohorts and continual affiliation with the same teachers.

scope and sequence:
Scope and sequence are terms especially associated with curriculum planning. Scope refers to the breadth of coverage within a course of study, for example, U.S. History from Colonial Times to the Civil War for 8th grade. Sequence refers to the order in which subjects are to be learned, for example, arithmetic precedes advanced mathematics in most curriculums.

The result obtained by a student on an assessment, expressed as a number. Assessments always have only one score. Each score is recorded as a positive number, with a larger numerical value implying a better result.

scoring key:
An activity-specific score point scale and descriptions of the response characteristics at each score point.

scoring rubric:
A set of related scoring scales used for judging student work and awarding points to reflect the evaluation of the work. (See Rubric)

scoring scale:
Assessment criteria formatted as levels of quality ranging from poorest to best, used to judge student work on a single feature such as "clarity of main idea". Scales may combine several traits within a feature. Scoring levels on the scale are assigned points, each level specifying the characteristics of the quality of content or skills needed to attain the points.

A test is "secure" when teachers and/or students do not have prior access to the test for purposes of preparation or familiarization.

Students reflect about their own abilities and performance, related to specified content and skills and related to their effectiveness as learners, using specific performance criteria, assessment standards, and personal goal setting. The intent is to teach students to monitor their own learning continuously.

The learner interprets information from the assessment of his or her own work.

The learner makes plans for improvement based on the assessment and evaluation of his or her own work.

semantic feature analysis:
Is the meaning system of English that focuses on vocabulary: Learning the meaning of words, discovering that some words have multiple meanings, studying synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms, using a dictionary and thesaurus, reading and writing comparisons (metaphors and similes).

"Children often don't have the full adult meaning of many words; rather, they learn meaning through a process of refinement. They add "features", or layers of meaning.

Language Arts 4th Edition Gail E. Tompkins
Students select a group of related words, such as different kinds of birds, and then make a grid or chart to classify them according to distinguishing characteristics. This activity reinforces students' organization of knowledge and related words into schemata.

sentence expansion:
Using vocabulary and particular syntactic structures from literature, students learn to write their own complex sentences.
Example: Luke is so smart that
is a child who
As a result of the unexpected rainstorm,

separation anxiety:
Excessive worry concerning separation from the home or from those to whom the person is attached, i.e., behavior can be shown by inability to detach self physically from family member. The origin of such anxiety usually involves concern over family circumstances, severe over protection of the child or fear of some specific school issue (i.e.bullying).

service learning:
Service learning is an instructional method that combines community service with a structured school-based opportunity for reflection about that service, emphasizing the connections between service experiences and academic learning.Although most service-learning activities vary by educational purpose,most programs balance students' need to learn with recipients' need for service. Students' benefit by acquiring skills and knowledge, realizing personal satisfaction and learning civic responsibility, while the community benefits by having a local need addressed.

shared reading:
Using a common text or a big book the teacher involves children in reading together. It provides opportunities for modeling reading behaviors, strategies and story sense in a socially supported, enjoyable manner.

shared writing:
Teacher and children work together to compose messages and stories. The teacher supports the process as the scribe.

sheltered English:
An instructional approach used to make academic instruction in English understandable to limited-English proficient students. Students in these classes are"sheltered" in that they do not compete academically with native English speakers in the mainstream. In the sheltered classroom teachers use physical activities, visual aids, and the environment to teach vocabulary for concept development in mathematics, science, social studies and other subjects.

silent period:
A time during which ESL students observe, gather and absorb information about speaking while developing listening comprehension skills and sorting out structures in the language such as the sound system (phonetics) and vocabulary.Students also take in aspects of deep culture that are not taught such as the "common sense" aspects of everyday functioning. This period varies in length depending on the students.

skill standard:
A skill standard specifies the knowledge and competencies required to perform successfully in the workplace. Standards are being developed along a skill continuum ranging from (1) general work readiness skills, and (2) core skills or knowledge for an industry, to(3) skills common to occupational clusters and (4) specific occupational skills. Standards may cover basic and advanced academic competencies, employability competencies, and technical competencies. Development of these standards is tied to efforts to certify students' and workers' skills.

society-centered curriculum:
Society-centered curriculum is one of two major offshoots of the progressive educational movement, the other being child-centered curriculum. The society-centered curriculum is focused on social issues and socially-relevant themes. Little emphasis is placed upon learning formal academic disciplines in isolation. The curriculum is invariably interdisciplinary. The underlying idea is that curricular experiences should be related to real-world activities and that they should be socially redemptive. Most society-centered activities are group projects where students learn to work together. Among the more notable examples of society-centered curricula are peace education, environmental education, global education, and multi-cultural education.

special education:
Specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability that proceeds from the basic goals and expected outcomes of general education.

speech discrimination:
An accurate identification of the distinctions in the range and characteristics of sounds used in oral languages.

SQ3R (also see PQ4R):
SQ3R stands for study,question, read, recite, and review. This study method was developed by F. P. Robinson and can be used in reading any content material for recall and understanding. The idea is that the student first studies the material in a preliminary way, then writes questions he/she would like to have answered about the material. Having done this, the student is ready to read the passage. Then he/she tries to answer the questions without looking up the answers. The cycle ends with a review of the material with respect to how it fits into a larger picture of learning from previous reading. A more recent variant is called PQ4R, which stands for preview, question, read, reflect, recite, and review.

stake holder(s):
Those individuals who have a substantial interest in schools and student learning, who may include students, teachers, administrators,other school staff, parents, advocacy organizations, community members,higher education institutions, and employers.

An established level of achievement, quality of performance, or degree of proficiency.

standard for a learning outcome:
The qualitative and quantitative assessment criteria by which it is decided if students have attained a specified level of performance related to an outcome. The parts of a standard include: a) the learning outcome, (b) the assessment tasks which will measure student learning relative to the learning outcome, (c) the cut-score or proficiency level required to "pass" the assessment and (d) the overall level of performance needed to combine assessments and indicate whether a student has mastered the whole outcome.

standard score:
A score that is expressed as a deviation from a population mean.

A set of consistent procedures for constructing, administering, and scoring an assessment. The goal of standardization is to ensure that all students are assessed under uniform conditions so that interpretation of their performance is comparable and not influenced by differing conditions.

According to Grant P. Wiggins, director of programs for the Center on Learning, Assessment, and School Structure (CLASS), standards are goals based on ideal levels of performance for all but the world's best performers in every field. It is in our attempt to reach standards that we can measure our growth. Standards can also be viewed as a set of descriptive criteria that a school holds for its students' success. They may be developed internally by the school community and/or originate from documents developed at the district or state level.

standards-based curricula:
Curricula based on and derived from content standards.

standardized, norm-referenced test:
A form of assessment in which a student is compared to other students. Results have been normed against a specific population (usual nationally). Standardization (uniformity)is obtained by administering the test to a given population under controlled conditions and then calculating means, standard deviations,standardized scores, and percentiles. Equivalent scores are then produced for comparisons of an individual score to the norm group's performance.

One of the steps in a nine-point scale of standard scores.

story maps (Story Grammar):
A framework for stories that includes: title, author, characters, setting, problem, events, solution, and ending.

The operations a reader uses to maintain fluency, detect and correct errors, and problem-solve for new words.

structure of knowledge:
A schema (visual or verbal)that specifies a cognitive hierarchy and relationship between facts,topics, concepts, generalizations and principles, and theories.

structured immersion:
In this program, language minority students receive all of their subject matter instruction in their second language. The teacher uses a simplified form of the second language. Students may use their native language in class; however, the teacher uses only the second language.

student engagement:
Student engagement has two dimensions, one in the context of the classroom and any given lesson, and a second in terms of a student's individual personal commitment to his/her own learning. Engagement in the classroom is manifested by student(s) attending to the task at hand during the lesson. Individual engagement is manifested by students asking (more than routine) questions during the lesson, and by their doing individual project work or homework more than perfunctorily.

student team learning, also see Cooperative Learning:
Student team learning is a cooperative learning model developed by Robert Slavin of Johns Hopkins University. His model is less generic than that of the Johnsons' Learning Together model. In fact, it has at least four permutations, each of which is specifically designed to address different concerns. For example, his Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition (CIRC) model is specifically designed for learning reading and writing in grades 3 through 6. His Team Assisted Individualization (TAI) model is designed for mathematics learning in grades 3 through 6. Additionally, Student Teams Achievement Divisions (STAD) and Teams-Games-Tournament (TGT) are more general techniques adaptable to most disciplines.

student work:
Student work is any tangible object produced by a learner that results from instruction (a writing sample, project, observed behavior or performance, a solution to a math problem, laboratory report, etc.). The systematic and collaborative examination of student work can yield significant insights about teaching and learning that can be used by teachers to adapt and improve classroom practice for the benefit of students.

subtractive bilingualism:
Occurs in an environment in which the second language and culture is intended to replace the first language/culture.

A judgment on whether an assessment task is comprehensive enough to produce a sample of student work broad enough in depth relative to a body of knowledge or skill to be considered an adequate measure of whether the student has attained the knowledge or achieved the skill. For forced choice assessments the number of items used to decide this is the crucial issue for sufficiency.

Encapsulating only the most important main ideas (golden nuggets) or message of passage by combining these thoughts in a clear and concise paragraph.

summative assessment:
Culminating assessment for a unit, grade level, or course of study providing a status report on mastery or degree of proficiency according to identified learning outcomes.

summative evaluation:
Summative evaluation strategies are those used at the conclusion of the implementation of a new program to determine the overall effectiveness or degree of goal attainment.For example, if a school were implementing a new 90-minute block schedule for the first time, formative evaluation would take place early in the implementation to provide feedback to the participants on how it is working and what may need modification to enhance its chance of success. Summative evaluation would be used once the program was in place in its entirety and educational outcomes, such as achievement,attendance, attitudes, etc., would be checked to determine if the program was a success. Summative evaluation is sometimes referred to as product evaluation because much of the evaluation activities are concerned with the final product after full implementation.

support networks:
Communities of educators within and across schools, districts, states, regions, and nations that are engaged in a variety of kindred school reform efforts and initiatives.

surface culture:
The visible aspects of culture such as food, art, dress, holidays, language, etc. No real values are seen at this level.

Breaking a multi syllabic word into syllables that can be pronounced and blended. http://www-pub.naz.edu:9000/~gwbrooks/ruddell6/tsld011.htm

A unit of spoken language. In English, a syllable can consist of a vowel sound along or a vowel sound with one or more consonant sounds preceding and following.

The aspects of language structure related to the ways in which words are put together to form phrases, clauses, and sentences.

synthetic phonics:
A method of teaching phonics in which students learn letter sounds in isolation. These sounds are then blended or synthesized to form whole words. For example, /k/ /a/ /t/ becomes cat. Emphasis is placed on pronunciation of individual sounds to product meaningful whole units or words. The goal is to consistently blend individual phonemes or sounds into complete words.

system reviewer:
One of Danbury's designated central office administrators (assistant superintendents and the special education director) who examine staff final evaluations for compliance and content.

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