Education Talk - Complete List

This list is a work in progress. Please check back frequently for updates.

ACT - is another college entrance examination. Some colleges prefer this test to the SAT because the ACT also includes a science reasoning section.

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) - is the measure of a school’s (or corporation’s or state’s) yearly progress toward achieving state standards. It is determined by a collection of measurements.

Adjunct Teaching Permit – One of the newest bills posed by the State Board of Education allows people without a teacher certification to teach in an Indiana public school. They will be issued an “adjunct teaching permit”.

Assessments – An assessment is a measurement of what students have learned. ISTEP, I-Read, and ECA are assessments that align with the standards that are now in place. New standards mean new assessments (or tests). Implementing the Common Core State Standards will mean developing new assessments. All tests fit into the school grading system and have an impact on teacher evaluations.

Balanced literacy - a framework for literacy instruction using reading, writing and word work, with lots of time allowed for young readers to hear and read good books.

Benchmark - is the level of performance individual students should show by a particular point in their schooling.

Charter Schools – These publicly-funded schools are an alternative to traditional public schools. Charter Schools are exempt from many state laws and regulations. Many Charter Schools are run by for-profit companies.

Common Core Standards (CCSS) – These national school standards state the knowledge and skills that all students are expected to learn in their K-12 education to prepare them for entering college and/or career training. These standards will be fully implemented with children tested beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. The Education Roundtable and the State Board of Education in Indiana approved these standards in August 2010, but the legislature is now reconsidering staying aligned to them.

Comprehension - the term used to describe the interpretations, understanding, and meaning readers construct as they listen to and read stories.

Criterion-Referenced Tests - measure how well a student has learned a specific body of knowledge and skills.

Curriculum - the course of study offered by a school or district. Final discussions about school curriculum have been the responsibility of the local school board.

Decoding - how a child figures out a word. It might be by sounding out a word or looking at picture clues. It should include figuring out that word in the context of the other words in the story.

Developmentally appropriate - if instruction is developmentally appropriate, it means that curriculum and instruction are based on the mental and physical development of the child. This term is mostly used in reference to young children but is important for students of all ages.

DIBELS - is the acronym for Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills. This one-on-one assessment checks letter and word recognition skills, fluency and comprehension of primary-age students.

DRA - is the acronym for Developmental Reading Assessment. It is a tool teachers use to assess and record students’ reading development. Originally developed for Kindergarten through grade three, it is now available for grades K through 8.

Formative Assessments - are assessments that take place during a unit or lesson. This is usually designed and implemented by the teacher and provides feedback to that teacher. This is often called assessment for learning.

Guided reading - refers to a reading group. Children are “sorted” into these groups based on reading levels or specific skills being taught by the teacher. These are teacher-led groups.

Leveled text - the story or passage at a child’s reading level. Good teachers make sure that young readers read text that is at or just above the child’s reading level.

Lifelong readers - ought to be the goal of all parents, students, and teacher. Reading for the joy of reading is why literacy is such a big deal!

Literacy - reading, writing, speaking and listening. A good literacy program immerses young children in books. Classroom teachers help children hear the sounds of language and give them experiences with letters and words – while helping them develop comprehension skills and enjoy reading and writing.

Literacy centers - planned by the classroom teacher to foster comprehension skills, to reinforce word work, and to give practice in reading and writing. These groups are usually small – from one to six students – with students working independently or in small groups.

Literature circles, sometimes called book clubs - are made up of groups of children who read the same book. Specific questions and discussions are required by the teacher, but these groups are often led by students.

Norm-Reference Tests - are assessments in which an individual or group’s performance is compared with that of a larger group.

Pedagogy – “Art or profession of teaching,” this term is used frequently during discussions to mean preparation in child development and instructional methods.

Phonics - an instructional strategy used to teach reading. Beginning readers learn letter-sound relationships to help sound out words.

PSAT - is a preliminary SAT that is usually given to sophomores and juniors to introduce them to and give them practice on the SAT. This test also serves as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test – the initial screening for this prestigious academic scholarship program.

Running Records - a method of recording a child’s reading used by many teachers of early readers. By recording the child’s processing, mistakes, and self-corrections, teachers learn what to review or re-teach with that individual child.

SAT - formerly called the Scholastic Aptitude Test, is really a standardized achievement test and is widely used as a college entrance examination. It measures mathematical reasoning and critical reading and writing skills. This test is a basis for many scholarship awards.

Standardized Tests - are the same test with the same content for all who take them; they often use multiple-choice questions, time limits, and scoring rubrics.

State Standards – These were composed by the Indiana Department of Education and are statements of what students should know and be able to demonstrate. These standards are considered to be more rigorous than the standards of most other states. They cover grades K-12 and all subject areas, and are used to define the knowledge students are expected to acquire.

Summative Assessments - are assessments of learning. They are used to discover what a student has learned. This formal process usually happens toward the end of a unit or grading period.
Teacher Certification – This is an official state recognition that a person meets state standards and is qualified to be a teacher in Indiana.

Vouchers – These tuition credits are used by parents to pay for their child’s education in a private school of their choice. Students in these schools are required to take state tests.

Writers’ Workshop - an integral part of every good literacy classroom. Students write independently, edit stories, and correct spelling with the help of a teacher, other adult, or a classmate.