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A B C D E F G H I L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z | Table of Contents
Schools, almost always located in urban or low-income rural areas, in which an unacceptably low proportion of students meet established standards, as indicated by test scores. Also called low-performing schools.
Some observers believe it is unfair to call such schools failing because, they say, the real failure is society's for allowing the social conditions that hamper student learning. Others point out that some schools, called effective schools, succeed in teaching low-income children, so others could do it too.
Because policies increasingly focus on such schools, and because test scores usually vary from year to year rather than going steadily up or down, state and national officials have devoted considerable attention to procedures for deciding which schools should be declared failing.
School programs that teach the knowledge and attitudes needed by young people to become responsible members of healthy families, including essential attitudes and knowledge about human sexuality. Family life education programs are often controversial because one person's idea of an essential attitude may be completely unacceptable to someone else.
This project, cosponsored by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and the First Amendment Center, is national initiative designed to transform how schools model and teach the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. First Amendment Schools are built on the conviction that the five freedoms protected by the First Amendment are a cornerstone of American democracy and essential for citizenship in a diverse society. First Amendment Schools not only teach the First Amendment but also develop ways to model and apply the democratic first principles.
Flexible scheduling, or modular scheduling, usually refers to school schedules in which classes are taught for different lengths of time on various days. For the best effect, classes are also different sizes. For example, a lecture may be given to a large group for a relatively short time, but a seminar discussion would have fewer students for a longer class period. Innovative secondary schools tried flexible scheduling in the late 1960s and '70s, but few schools use it today. Many schools do use block scheduling, however, in which all classes meet longer than the traditional 50 minutes.
A test given primarily to determine what students have learned in order to plan further instruction. By contrast, an examination used primarily to document students' achievement at the end of a unit or course is considered a summative test.
A type of block, or alternative, scheduling used in some secondary schools in place of the usual class periods of about 50 minutes. Students take four 90-minute classes a day, with course changes every 45 days (four times a school year). Students and teachers have fewer classes to prepare for and experience fewer interruptions in the school day. Longer blocks of time allow for more complex learning activities, such as complicated science experiments.
The practice of educating all children in the same classroom, including children with physical, mental, and developmental disabilities. Inclusion classes often require a special assistant to the classroom teacher. In a fully inclusive school or classroom, all of the children follow the same schedules; everyone is involved in the same field trips, extracurricular activities, and assemblies.
The 1975 Education for All Handicapped Children Act (P.L. 94-142) made inclusion a controversial topic by requiring a free and appropriate education with related services for each child in the least restrictive environment possible, and an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for each qualifying child. In 1991 the bill was renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the revision broadened the definition of disabilities and added related services. One controversy involves interpreting the phrase "least restrictive environment possible." Supporters of full inclusion interpret the phrase to mean full provisions in the regular school; others advocate case-by-case decisions, considering the individual student and available staff and facilities. For example, some professionals and some parents of children with learning disabilities believe that these children benefit from partial inclusion, with some activities and learning experiences occurring in alternative facilities using different teaching strategies.
Inclusion has passionate advocates and adversaries. Opponents, including many parents of children with special needs, feel that the presence of many children with disabilities holds back average and gifted students and that special-needs students are frequently disruptive and are not well-served by inclusion. Advocates of inclusion argue that all students are better served in structured inclusive classrooms—that children with disabilities receive more understanding and respect from their peers and that all students profit from working together.
Organizations that provide services, often including medical and dental services, nutrition classes, parent programs, and social services, as part of the school program for both students and families. Sometimes called community center schools, full-service schools provide essential services that many families could not otherwise obtain because they lack transportation, information, money, or time. The goals of such programs are to help urban parents feel comfortable with teachers, become a part of the learning community, and support their children's studies.
The inability to read or write well enough to perform many necessary tasks in life, such as writing a check, filling out a job application, reading a classified advertisement, or understanding a newspaper headline.
A term used by critics of mathematics instruction that emphasizes estimation, multiple approaches to problem solving, and use of calculators, as recommended by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The critics, including some professors of mathematics, believe children should be expected to learn established mathematical knowledge and procedures.
This document contains some material that was previously published in The Language of Learning: A Guide to Educational Terms, edited by J. Lynn McBrien and Ronald Brandt, 1997, ASCD.
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