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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
In testing programs, a way of estimating how a whole group would perform on a test by testing representative members of the group or giving different portions of the test to various subgroups (matrix sampling).
The way a teacher provides support to make sure students succeed at complex tasks they couldn't do otherwise. Most teaching is done as the students go about the task, rather than before they start. For example, as a group of elementary students proceed to publish a student newspaper, the teacher shows them how to conduct interviews, write news stories, and prepare captions for photographs.
Because the teacher supports the students to make sure they don't fail in their effort, it reminds researchers of the scaffolding that workers sometimes place around buildings. As the students become more skillful, the teacher gives them more responsibility, taking away the scaffolding when it is no longer needed. (This gradual withdrawal has been called "fading.")
A report issued in 1991 by the Department of Labor identifying the knowledge, skills, and abilities that future workers would need to succeed in entry-level jobs. Competencies listed in the SCANS report included basic skills (reading, writing, mathematics, listening, and speaking), thinking skills (creative thinking, decision making, problem solving, visualizing symbols, reasoning, and knowing how to learn), and personal qualities (responsibility, self-esteem, sociability, self-management, and integrity).
The SCANS 2000 Center at Johns Hopkins University continues to promote the teaching of these skills in elementary, middle, and secondary schools.
Subject-matter tests required for college entrance by many institutions of higher education. The SAT program is administered by The College Board, a 100-year-old, not-for-profit membership association.
Formerly called the Scholastic Aptitude Test, the SAT was introduced in the 1950s and renamed in 1994. The SAT I is one of the two alternative standardized tests commonly used by institutions of higher education as a primary basis for evaluating a student's application for admission (the other is the ACT).
According to The College Board, the name now reflects more accurately what the exam does: It measures what a student has learned, not what a student might hope to accomplish in life.
The SAT I is taken each year by 1.3 million students from a variety of cultures, economic conditions, regions, and schools. Requiring three hours to take, the test has seven sections: three verbal, three mathematics, and a nonscored "equating" section used either to try out new questions or to set the scoring scale.
A system of school governance by which most decisions, including staffing and spending decisions, are made at the level of the individual school, rather than at district or other agency level. Also known as site-based management or decision making. (Schools or sites are not necessarily whole buildings. In some cases, a building may house several schools.)
School-based management is frequently confused with participatory or shared decision making. Participatory or shared decision making involves multiple stakeholders (generally teams composed of administrators, teachers, and parents; some include student representatives, community members, and one or more business partners) in decision-making processes at the school. School-based management may make use of such teams; however, it might instead assign authority to school principals. School-based management implies only that decisions are made at the school level; it does not imply who makes those decisions.
Some highly successful programs assign authority to school principals, who are responsible for deciding how best to involve others. And shared decision-making tends to be more successful when local administrators use it voluntarily.
The idea that families should have more than one alternative when enrolling their children in school. The term is commonly employed by advocates of vouchers and tax credits as though it refers only to a choice between public and nonpublic schools. Actually, some states and school districts offer numerous options—sometimes in the form of charter or magnet schools, but also in more comprehensive choice plans.
Some advocates of school choice argue that it encourages healthy competition among schools for enrollment, thus raising the quality of all schools. Opponents contend that advantaged parents are consistently able to exploit opportunities—for example, by providing transportation to schools outside their neighborhoods—so choice contributes to greater inequity.
The sum of the values, cultures, safety practices, and organizational structures within a school that cause it to function and react in particular ways.
Some schools are said to have a nurturing environment that recognizes children and treats them as individuals; others may have the feel of authoritarian structures where rules are strictly enforced and hierarchical control is strong. Teaching practices, diversity, and the relationships among administrators, teachers, parents, and students contribute to school climate.
Although the two terms are somewhat interchangeable, school climate refers mostly to the school's effects on students, whereas school culture refers more to the way teachers and other staff members work together.
Schools that provide not only education but also other services—such as medical and dental services, nutrition classes, parent programs, and social services—for both students and families. Such schools, sometimes called community center schools or full-service schools and usually located in inner-city urban neighborhoods, 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 parents feel comfortable with teachers, become a part of the learning community, and support their children's studies.
The basic background and knowledge that children are usually expected to have upon entering kindergarten. Some educators believe that school readiness skills should include Recognition of colors and basic shapes. Gross motor coordination that enables children to catch a ball. Fine motor coordination that enables them to hold a crayon or pencil. The ability to sort objects (e.g., beans or coins). Knowing their first and last names and home address.
In addition, school readiness is usually thought to include, for example, good nutrition, inoculations, and care, safety, and guidance. Some programs, including Head Start, attempt to boost the preschool development of children from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
The implementation of new organizational patterns or styles of leadership and management to bring about renewed, more effective schools. The term restructuring was widely used by educators and reformers in the early 1990s but is less common now.
It can mean reorganizing the school day or year and changing conventional practices, such as grouping students by age for an entire school year or giving competitive grades. Or it may refer to changing the roles of teachers and administrators, allocating more decision-making power to teachers, and involving parents in decisions.
A movement based on the belief that students are not adequately prepared for careers by the time they graduate from high school. Although a growing number of parents believe their children must attend college and earn at least a bachelor's degree to make a comfortable living, nearly three-quarters of U.S. citizens do not have a college degree, indicating that high school graduates need preparation and training to succeed in the work world.
Depending on the nature of the program, preparation for employment may be called several different things, including career education and, of course, vocational education. The term school-to-work is associated with programs supported with federal funds under the School-to-Work Opportunities Act, which was intended to broaden educational, career, and economic opportunities for all students by creating partnerships between schools and businesses, community organizations, and government agencies. The act provides funds for a variety of programs, including apprenticeships, tech-prep programs, and internships. Schools and businesses work together to integrate learning and job-training skills.
Also called whole-school reform or comprehensive school reform, this term refers to an approach to school improvement that involves adopting a design for organizing an entire school. New American Schools, an organization that promotes comprehensive school reform, sponsors several different designs, each featuring challenging academic standards, strong professional development programs, meaningful parental and community involvement, and a supportive school environment.
Preferred by some testing specialists over the more common term "multiple choice" because it is more specific and contrasts with "constructed response," meaning items that require the student to provide an answer.
Schools that have developed the capacity to revise their structures and processes to adapt to changing conditions. Self-renewing schools are sometimes called learning organizations because they learn and change in response to experience. Advocates of self-renewing schools believe that schools should change traditional practices that do not fit modern conditions, such as the influence of television and other electronic media in the lives of today's children.
Provisions for making community service part of the school's educational program. At the high school level, this means awarding school credit for such service. Students usually work on site at such locations as soup kitchens, recycling centers, homeless shelters, and community hospital fairs. Some high schools require that students earn a certain number of credits in service learning in order to graduate.
Teaching limited-English-speaking students by using simplified English that is relatively easy to understand and learn.
A system of school governance by which most decisions, including staffing and spending decisions, are made at the level of the individual school, rather than at district or other agency level. Also known as school-based or site-based management.(Schools or sites are not necessarily whole buildings. In some cases, a building may house several schools.)
Site-based decision-making is frequently confused with participatory or shared decision-making. Some schools have teams composed of administrators, teachers, and parents; some include student representatives, community members, and one or more business partners. Team members share responsibility for educational, leadership, and administrative functions.
In fact, site-based decision-making does not depend on any particular arrangements for governance at the school level. Some highly successful programs assign authority to school principals, who are responsible for deciding how best to involve others. And shared decision-making tends to be more successful when local administrators use it voluntarily.
Lessons and other experiences intended to help students learn to control their emotions and to work and play with others. Several research-based programs have been developed and tested. Advocates strongly advise a planned, sequential curriculum with time set aside for SEL just as it is for other important goals.
The practice of promoting students to the next grade whether or not they have accomplished the goals of their current grade. Social promotion is almost uniformly condemned by politicians, the public, and many educators. Opponents argue that students who have not met minimum requirements must be retained in grade. Otherwise, they say, failing students will not have the prerequisite skills to continue learning and will eventually become functionally illiterate graduates.
Some educators, familiar with the undesirable effects of repeated grade retention, such as high drop-out rates, prefer to approach the problem differently. They favor adopting and monitoring standards and benchmarks, blurring grade lines (ungrading), grouping students in mixed-ability groups or at their current level of achievement (alternative strategies), and focusing on individual progress. In other words, for young children at least, they would eliminate social promotion by eliminating the concept of promotion itself.
Educational programs for students who, because they have a disability of some kind, require special instructional help to reach their potential. This may include specially trained teachers, innovative technology or instructional materials, access to a resource room, or even external placement. The term sometimes (but not usually) includes programs for those considered gifted.
Students who, because of physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional disabilities, require special instructional help to reach their potential. This may include specially trained teachers, innovative technology or instructional materials, access to a resource room, or even external placement. The term sometimes (but not usually) includes students classified as gifted and talented.
An approach to curriculum design that provides for periodic revisiting of key topics over a period of years, presenting them in greater depth each time. Contrasts with mastery learning, which assumes that a topic should be taught thoroughly and mastered before students move on to something else.
Tests that are administered and scored under uniform (standardized) conditions. Because most machine-scored, multiple-choice tests are standardized, the term is sometimes used to refer to such tests, but other tests may also be standardized.
In current usage, the term usually refers to specific criteria for what students are expected to learn and be able to do. These standards usually take two forms in the curriculum: Content standards (similar to what were formerly called goals and objectives), which tell what students are expected to know and be able to do in various subject areas, such as mathematics and science.
Performance standards, which specify what levels of learning are expected. Performance standards assess the degree to which content standards have been met. The term "world-class standards" refers to the content and performances that are expected of students in other industrialized countries. In recent years, standards have also been developed specifying what teachers should know and be able to do.
Teaching directed toward student mastery of defined standards. Now that nearly all states have adopted curriculum standards, teachers are expected to teach in such a way that students achieve the standards. Experts say this means that teachers must have a clear idea what each standard means, including how it can and will be assessed, and that teachers should monitor individual student achievement of each important standard.
A variation of the usual parent-teacher conference in which the student plays a major part. The student prepares for the conference and leads it by showing the parents or family members samples of her work, often in the form of portfolios, and discussing areas of strengths and weaknesses.
Proponents believe that having students analyze and explain samples of their own work makes them feel more responsible. It also provides an opportunity for them to practice presentation skills. If parents need a private talk with the teacher, a separate meeting or phone conversation is usually arranged.
A test given to evaluate and document what students have learned. The term is used to distinguish such tests from formative tests, which are used primarily to diagnose what students have learned in order to plan further instruction.
The process by which one person, usually someone with greater authority, helps another person improve his performance. A persistent issue in education is the relationship between supervision and teacher evaluation. In education, supervision is ideally a nonthreatening and helping relationship, and teacher evaluation is a formal administrative responsibility.
In practice, most supervision is done by the school principal, who visits the teacher's classroom to observe and then meets with the teacher to discuss effectiveness of the lesson. The process of observing and conferring is sometimes called clinical supervision to distinguish it from the kind of employee supervision necessary in any organization, such as making sure people get to work on time.
Improvement of education by coordinating all aspects of the system—which in various situations may be a state, a local district, or even a school.
Recognizing that regulations and traditions sometimes interfere with reform, policymakers talk about standards-based systemic reform, which means establishing performance standards that students are to meet (usually at the state level) and then aligning everything else—curriculum, assessment, college entrance requirements, teacher education, teacher certification, teacher professional development, and so on—with the expected standards.
If standards call for students to learn content they are not learning now, all parts of the system must work together: New instructional materials may be needed, new tests may have to be created, and teachers may need to learn new approaches.
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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