Education Encyclopedia

Education Encyclopedia

If you would like to prepare for school subjects or simply increase your general knowledge, then enjoy our education encyclopedia. We tried to focus only on very important terms and definitions. We also kept our terminology very brief so that you absorb the concept more quickly and easily.

Education Glossary (Page 1)


ACADEMIA: A collective term for the scientific and cultural community engaged in higher education and research, taken as a whole. The word comes from the akademeia just outside ancient Athens, where the gymnasium was made famous by Plato as a center of learning.
ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT STANDARDS: Academic achievement standards refer to the expected performance of students on measures of academic achievement; for instance, "all students will score at least 76% correct on the district-developed performance-based assessment." Also known as performance standards. See also academic content standards.
ACADEMIC CONTENT STANDARDS: Academic content standards are developed by state departments of education to demonstrate what they expect all students to know and be able to do in the core content areas. According to NCLB, ELL students "will meet the same challenging State academic content and student academic achievement standards as all children are expected to meet." See also academic achievement standards.
ACADEMIC DEGREE: A degree is any of a wide range of status levels conferred by institutions of higher education, such as universities, normally as the result of successfully completing a program of study.
ACADEMIC DRESS: (or academical dress, also known in the United States as academic regalia) Traditional clothing worn specifically in academic settings. It is more commonly seen nowadays only at graduation ceremonies, but in former times academic dress was, and to a lesser extent in many ancient universities still is, worn on a daily basis.
ACADEMIC ENGLISH: The English language ability required for academic achievement in context-reduced situations, such as classroom lectures and textbook reading assignments. This is sometimes referred to as Cognitive/Academic Language Proficiency (CALP).
ACADEMIC INSTITUTION: An educational institution dedicated to higher education and research, which grants academic degrees.
ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE INDEX (API): A statewide ranking of schools based on student test scores from the CAT/6, CST, and high school exit exam; it ranges from 200 to 1000. Most schools have an API, a state ranking (by elementary, middle, or high school), a ranking in comparison to 100 similar schools, and growth targets for the following year.
ACADEMIC PUBLISHING: Describes a system of publishing that is necessary in order for academic scholars to review work and make it available for a wider audience. The "system," which is probably disorganized enough not to merit the title, varies widely by field, and is also always changing, if often slowly. Most academic work is published in journal article or book form.
ACCOMMODATION (FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS): Adapting language (spoken or written) to make it more understandable to second language learners. In assessment, accommodations may be made to the presentation, response method, setting, or timing/scheduling of the assessment (Baker, 2000; Rivera & Stansfield, 2000).
ACCOMMODATION (FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES): Techniques and materials that allow individuals with LD to complete school or work tasks with greater ease and effectiveness. Examples include spellcheckers, tape recorders, and expanded time for completing assignments.
ACCOMMODATIONS: Changes in the way tests are designed or administered to respond to the special needs of students with disabilities and English learners (EL).
ACCOUNTABILITY: The notion that people (e.g., students or teachers) or an organization (e.g., a school, school district, or state department of education) should be held responsible for improving student achievement and should be rewarded or sanctioned for their success or lack of success in doing so.
ACCURACY: The ability to recognize words correctly.
ACHIEVEMENT TEST: A test to measure a student's knowledge and skills.
ACT: A set of college admissions tests. Most colleges now accept either the SAT or the ACT for admissions purposes.
ACTIVE LEARNING: A process whereby learners are actively engaged in the learning process, rather than "passively" absorbing lectures. Active learning involves reading, writing, discussion, and engagement in solving problems, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Active learning often involves cooperative learning.
ACTIVITY THEORY: (AT) A Soviet psychological meta-theory, paradigm, or framework, with its roots in socio-cultural approach. Its founders were Alexei Nikolaevich Leontyev, and S. L. Rubinshtein (1889-1960). It became one of the major psychological approaches in the former USSR, being widely used in both theoretical and applied psychology, in areas such as the education, training, ergonomics, and work psychology.
ADDITIONAL SUPPORT NEEDS: In Scotland, children who require some additional support to remove barriers to learning in any respect are deemed to have Additional Support Needs. This definition abolished the previously used term Special Educational Needs and was set out in the 2004 Additional Support for Learning Act.
ADEQUATE YEARLY PROGRESS (AYP): An individual state's measure of yearly progress toward achieving state academic standards. Adequate yearly progress is the minimum level of improvement that states, school districts, and schools must achieve each year, according to federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation. This progress is determined by a collection of performance measures that a state, its school districts, and subpopulations of students within its schools are supposed to meet if the state receives Title I federal funding. In California, the measures include (1) specified percentages of students scoring "proficient" or "advanced" on California Standards Tests in English/language arts and math; (2) participation of a least 95 percent of students on those tests; (3) specified API scores or gains; and (4) for high schools, a specified graduation rate or improvement in the rate.
ADOPTION: Refers to the chosen curriculum of a particular school.
ADULT EDUCATION: The practice of teaching and educating adults. This is often done in the workplace, or through 'extension' or 'continuing education' courses at secondary schools, or at a College or University. The practice is also often referred to as 'Training and Development'. It has also been referred to as andragogy (to distinguish it from pedagogy). Educating adults differs from educating children in several ways. One of the most important differences is that adults have accumulated knowledge and experience which can either add value to a learning experience or hinder it.
ADULTISM: A predisposition towards adults, which some see as biased against children, youth, and all young people who aren't addressed or viewed as adults. Adultism is popularly used to describe any discrimination against young people, and is distinguished from ageism, which is simply prejudice on the grounds of age; not specifically against youth.
ADVANCED: (see proficiency).
ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP): A series of voluntary exams based on college-level courses taken in high school. High school students who do well on one or more of these exams have the opportunity to earn credit, advanced placement, or both for college.
ADVANCED PLACEMENT PROGRAM: (commonly known as Advanced Placement, or AP) A United States and Canada-based program that offers high school students the opportunity to receive university credit for their work during high school.
ADVANCEMENT VIA INDIVIDUAL DETERMINATION (AVID): A four-year elective college preparatory class designed to motivate students to attend college.
AFFECTIVE FILTER: The affective filter is a metaphor that describes a learner's attitudes that affect the relative success of second language acquisition. Negative feelings such as lack of motivation, lack of self-confidence and learning anxiety act as filters that hinder and obstruct language learning. This term is associated with linguist Stephen Krashen's Monitor Model of second language learning.
AFFIX: Part of word that is "fixed to" either the beginnings of words (prefixes) or the endings of words (suffixes). The word disrespectful has two affixes, a prefix (dis-) and a suffix (-ful).
AGE EQUIVALENT SCORE: In a norm-referenced assessment, individual student's scores are reported relative to those of the norming population. This can be done in a variety of ways, but one way is to report the average age of people who received the same score as the individual child. Thus, an individual child's score is described as being the same as students that are younger, the same age, or older than that student (e.g. A 9 year old student my receive the same score that an average 13 year old student does, suggesting that this student is quite advanced).
AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION: Instruction about crop production, livestock management, soil and water conservation, and various other aspects of agriculture. Agricultural education includes instruction in food education, such as nutrition. Agricultural and food education improves the quality of life for all people by helping farmers increase production, conserve resources, and provide nutritious foods.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: An aim expresses the purpose of the educational unit or course whereas an objective is a statement of a goal which successful participants are expected demonstrably to achieve before the course or unit completes.
ALIGNMENT: The degree to which assessments, curriculum, instruction, textbooks and other instructional materials, teacher preparation and professional development, and systems of accountability all reflect and reinforce the educational program's objectives and standards.
ALPHABETIC PRINCIPLE: The basic idea that written language is a code in which letters represent the sounds in spoken words.
ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENTS: Ways other than standardized tests to get information about what students know and where they need help, such as oral reports, projects, performances, experiments, and class participation.
ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION: (also known as non-traditional education or educational alternative) Describes a number of approaches to teaching and learning other than traditional publicly- or privately-run schools. These approaches can be applied to all students of all ages, from infancy to adulthood, and all levels of education.
ALTERNATIVE SCHOOLS ACCOUNTABILITY MODEL (ASAM): An alternative way of measuring student performance in schools with mostly high-risk students-such as continuation schools or some county office of education schools-and schools with fewer than 11 valid test scores.
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA): A federal law that gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.
ANALOGY-BASED PHONICS: In this approach, students are taught to use parts of words they have already learned to read and decode words they don't know. They apply this strategy when the words share similar parts in their spellings, for example, reading screen by analogy to green. Students may be taught a large set of key words for use in reading new words.
ANALYSIS: The action of taking something apart in order to study it.
ANALYTIC PHONICS: In this approach, students learn to analyze letter-sound relationships in previously learned words. They do not pronounce sounds in isolation.
ANDRAGOGY: A theory of adult education proposed by the American educator Malcolm Knowles (April 24, 1913-November 27, 1997). Knowles held that andragogy (from the Greek words meaning "man-leading") should be distinguished from the more commonly taught pedagogy (Greek "child-leading").
ANNUAL MEASURABLE ACHIEVEMENT OBJECTIVES (AMAO): Within Title III of NCLB, each state is required to determine Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (amaos). Amaos indicate how much English language proficiency (reading, writing, speaking, listening, and comprehension) children served with Title III funds are expected to gain each year. See also AYP, for similar content area requirements. The AMAO requirements include reporting on these three things- Annual increases in the number or percentage of children making progress in learning English. Annual increases in number or percentage of children attaining English proficiency. ELL children making AYP.
ANNUAL MEASURABLE OBJECTIVE (AMO): The annual target for the percentage of students whose test scores must be proficient or above in English/language arts and mathematics. Meeting the AMO is the first step toward demonstrating adequate yearly progress under the federal law No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
ANTI-BIAS CURRICULUM: An active/activist approach in education that challenges interlocking systems of oppression such as racism, sexism, ableism/disablism, ageism, homophobia, and all the other -isms.
APHASIA: See Developmental Aphasia.
APPLIED ACADEMICS: An approach to learning and teaching that focuses on how academic subjects (communications, mathematics, science, and basic literacy) can apply to the real world.[1] Further, applied academics can be viewed as theoretical knowledge supporting practical applications.
APPRENTICESHIP: A traditional method, still popular in some countries, of training a new generation of skilled crafts practitioners. Apprentices (or in early modern usage "prentices") built their careers from apprenticeships.
ART EDUCATION: The area of learning that is based upon the visual arts-drawing, painting, sculpture, and design in such fine crafts of jewelry, pottery, weaving, fabrics, etc., and design applied to more practical fields such as commercial graphics and home furnishings. .
ASSESSMENT: Teacher-made tests, standardized tests, or tests from textbook companies that are used to evaluate student performance.
ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY: Equipment that enhances the ability of students and employees to be more efficient and successful.
ASYNCHRONOUS LEARNING: A teaching method using the asynchronous delivery of training materials or content using computer network technology. It is an approach to providing technology-based training that incorporates learner-centric models of instruction. The asynchronous format has been in existence for quite some time; however, new research and strategies suggest that this approach can enable learners to increase knowledge and skills through self-paced and self-directed modules completed when the learner is prepared and motivated to learn.
AT-RISK STUDENT: Students may be labeled at risk if they are not succeeding in school based on information gathered from test scores, attendance, or discipline problems.
ATTENTION DEFICIT / HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD): Any of a range of behavioral disorders in children characterized by symptoms that include poor concentration, an inability to focus on tasks, difficulty in paying attention, and impulsivity. A person can be predominantly inattentive (often referred to as ADD), predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, or a combination of these two.
AUDITORY DISCRIMINATION: Ability to detect differences in sounds; may be gross ability, such as detecting the differences between the noises made by a cat and dog, or fine ability, such as detecting the differences made by the sounds of letters "m" and "n.".
AUDITORY FIGURE-GROUND: Ability to attend to one sound against a background of sound (e.g., hearing the teacher's voice against classroom noise).
AUDITORY MEMORY: Ability to retain information which has been presented orally; may be short term memory, such as recalling information presented several seconds before; long term memory, such as recalling information presented more than a minute before; or sequential memory, such as recalling a series of information in proper order.
AUDITORY PROCESSING DISORDER (APD): An inability to accurately process and interpret sound information. Students with APD often do not recognize subtle differences between sounds in words.
AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT: Authentic assessment uses multiple forms of evaluation that reflect student learning, achievement, motivation, and attitudes on classroom activities. Examples of authentic assessment include performance assessment, portfolios, and student self-assessment. .
AUTODIDACTICISM: (also autodidactism) Self-education or self-directed learning. An autodidact, also known as an automath, is a mostly self-taught person - typically someone who has an enthusiasm for self-education and a high degree of self-motivation.
AUTOMATICITY: Automaticity is a general term that refers to any skilled and complex behavior that can be performed rather easily with little attention, effort, or conscious awareness. These skills become automatic after extended periods of training. With practice and good instruction, students become automatic at word recognition, that is, retrieving words from memory, and are able to focus attention on constructing meaning from the text, rather than decoding.
AVERAGE CLASS SIZE: The number of students in classes divided by the number of classes. Because some teachers, such as reading specialists, have assignments outside the regular classroom, the average class size is usually larger than the pupil-teacher ratio.
AVERAGE DAILY ATTENDANCE (ADA): The total number of days of student attendance divided by the total number of days in the regular school year. A student attending every school day would equal one ADA. Generally, ADA is lower than enrollment due to such factors as transiency, dropouts, and illness. A school district's revenue limit income is based on its ADA.
BASE WORDS: Words from which many other words are formed. For example, many words can be formed from the base word migrate, migration, migrant, immigration, immigrant, migrating, migratory.
BASIC: See Proficiency.
BASIC AID: The minimum general-purpose aid that is guaranteed by the state's Constitution for each school district in California. A basic aid district is one in which local property taxes equal or exceed the district's revenue limit. These districts may keep the money from local property taxes and still receive constitutionally guaranteed state funding.
BASIC INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS (BICS): Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) is often referred to as "playground English" or "survival English." It is the basic language ability required for face-to-face communication where linguistic interactions are embedded in a situational context called context-embedded language. BICS is part of a theory of language proficiency developed by Jim Cummins, which distinguishes this conversational form of language from CALP (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency).
BEHAVIOR INTERVENTION PLAN (BIP): A plan that includes positive strategies, program modifications, and supplementary aids and supports that address a student's disruptive behaviors and allows the child to be educated in the least restrictive environment (LRE).
BEHAVIORISM: (or behaviourism, not to be confused with behavioralism in political science) An approach to psychology based on the proposition that behavior can be researched scientifically without recourse to inner mental states. It is a form of materialism, denying any independent significance for the mind. One of the assumptions of many behaviorists is that free will is illusory, and that all behaviour is determined by a combination of forces both genetic factors and the environment, either through association or reinforcement.
BELIEF: A conviction to the truth of a proposition. Beliefs can be acquired through perception, contemplation or communication. In the psychological sense, belief is a representational mental state that takes the form of a propositional attitude. Knowledge is often defined as justified true belief, in that the belief must be considered to correspond to reality and must be derived from valid evidence and arguments. However, this definition has been challenged by the Gettier problem which suggests that justified true belief does not provide a complete picture of knowledge.
BENCHMARKS: A detailed description of a specific level of student achievement expected of students at particular ages, grades, or developmental levels; academic goals set for each grade level.
BIAS IN EDUCATION: A real or perceived bias in the educational system.
BICULTURAL: Identifying with the cultures of two different ethnic, national, or language groups. To be bicultural is not necessarily the same as being bilingual. In fact, you can even identify with two different language groups without being bilingual, as is the case with many Latinos in the U.S.
BILINGUAL EDUCATION: An in-school program for students whose first language is not English or who have limited English skills. Bilingual education provides English language development plus subject area instruction in the student's native language. The goal is for the child to gain knowledge and be literate in two languages.
BILINGUAL EDUCATION, TRANSITIONAL: An educational program in which two languages are used to provide content matter instruction. Over time, the use of the native language is decreased and the use of English is increased until only English is used.
BILINGUALISM: Bilingualism is the ability to use two languages. However, defining bilingualism can be problematic since there may be variation in proficiency across the four language dimensions (listening, speaking, reading and writing) and differences in proficiency between the two languages. People may become bilingual either by acquiring two languages at the same time in childhood or by learning a second language sometime after acquiring their first language.
BILITERACY: Biliteracy is the ability to effectively communicate or understand written thoughts and ideas through the grammatical systems, vocabularies, and written symbols of two different languages.
BLEND: A consonant sequence before or after a vowel within a syllable, such as cl, br, or st; it is the written language equivalent of consonant cluster.
BLENDED LEARNING: Learning in a combination of modes. Often used more specifically to refer to courses which use a combination of traditional face-to-face teaching and distance learning techniques on-line.
BLOCK SCHEDULING: Instead of traditional 40- to 50-minute periods, block scheduling allows for periods of an hour or more so that teachers can accomplish more during a class session. It also allows for teamwork across subject areas in some schools. For example, a math and science teacher may teach a physics lesson that includes both math and physics concepts.
BLOGISH: Interactive and personal communication as opposed to traditional narrative text.
BOARDING SCHOOL: A school where some or all students not only study but also live, amongst their peers but away from their home and family. The word 'boarding' is used in the sense of a 'boarding house', lodgings which provide both bed and board, that is meals as well as a room. Most famous UK public schools are boarding schools for ages 13 to 18, either single-sex or coeducational.
BOND MEASURE: A method of borrowing used by school districts to pay for construction or renovation projects. A bond measure requires a 55 percent majority to pass. The principal and interest are repaid by local property owners through an increase in property taxes.
BRAINSTORMING: An organized approach for producing ideas by letting the mind think without interruption. The term was coined by Alex Osborn. Brainstorming can be done either individually or in a group; in group brainstorming sessions, the participants are encouraged, and often expected, to share their ideas with one another as soon as they are generated. The key to brainstorming is not to interrupt the thought process. As ideas come to the mind, they are captured and stimulate the development of better ideas. Brainstorming is used for enhancing creativity in order to generate a broad selection of ideas in leading to a unique and improved concept.
BRAINWASHING: (or thought reform) The application of coercive techniques to change the beliefs or behavior of one or more people for political purposes. Whether any techniques at all exist that will actually work to change thought and behavior to the degree that the term "brainwashing" connotes is a controversial and at times hotly debated question.
BRIDGE PROGRAM: This is a higher education program specifically designed to assist a student with an attained initial educational level (or an initial level of professional licensure) to attend college courses and achieve a terminal degree (or a higher level of professional licensure) in the same field of study and in less time than an entry-level student would require. Bridge programs are most notable among healthcare professions.
BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION OF TOPEKA: 347 U.S. 483 (1954) A landmark case of the United States Supreme Court which explicitly outlawed de jure racial segregation of public education facilities (legal establishment of separate government-run schools for blacks and whites), ruling so on the grounds that the doctrine of "separate but equal" public education could never truly provide black Americans with facilities of the same standards available to white Americans. A companion case dealt with the constitutionality of segregation in the District of Columbia, (not a state and therefore not subject to the Fourteenth Amendment), Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497 (1954).
BULLY: An individual, thought to be emotionally dysfunctional, who torments others through verbal harassment, physical assault, or other more subtle methods of coercion.
CALIFORNIA ENGLISH LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT TEST (CELDT): CELDT is a language proficiency test developed for the California Department of Education. Progress on language proficiency assessments like the CELDT is a requirement for ells under the No Child Left Behind Act .
CAMPUS NOVEL: A novel whose main action is set in and around the campus of a university. The genre, dating back to the late 1940s, is popular because it allows the author to show the quirks of human nature, and reactions to pressure (for exams etc.) Within a controlled environment or to describe the reaction of a fixed socio-cultural perspective (the academic staff) to new social attitudes (the new student intake).
CATEGORICAL AID: Funds from the state or federal government granted to qualifying schools or districts for specific children with special needs, certain programs such as class size reduction, or special purposes such as transportation. In general, schools or districts must spend the money for the specific purpose. All districts receive categorical aid in varying amounts. This aid is in addition to the funding schools received for their general education program.
CENTER FOR APPLIED LINGUISTICS (CAL): CAL is a private, non-profit organization consisting of a group of scholars and educators who use the findings of linguistics to identify and address language-related problems. CAL carries out a wide range of activities including research, teacher education, analysis and dissemination of information, design and development of instructional materials, technical assistance, conference planning, program evaluation, and policy analysis. Visit the CAL website.
CENTRAL AUDITORY PROCESSING DISORDER (CAPD): A disorder that occurs when the ear and the brain do not coordinate fully. A CAPD is a physical hearing impairment, but one which does not show up as a hearing loss on routine screenings or an audiogram. Instead, it affects the hearing system beyond the ear, whose job it is to separate a meaningful message from non-essential background sound and deliver that information with good clarity to the intellectual centers of the brain (the central nervous system).
CERTIFICATE/CREDENTIAL: A state-issued license certifying that the teacher has completed the necessary basic training courses and passed the teacher exam.
CERTIFICATED/CREDENTIALED EMPLOYEES: School employees who are required by the state to hold teaching credentials, including full-time, part-time, substitute, or temporary teachers and most administrators. A teacher who has not yet acquired a credential but has an emergency permit or a waiver to teach in the classroom is included in the count. The requirements for a fully credentialed teacher include having a bachelor's degree, completing additional required coursework, and passing the CBEST. (Ed-data and Ed Source).
CHARTER SCHOOLS: Publicly funded schools that are exempt from many state laws and regulations for school districts. They are run by groups of teachers, parents, and/or foundations.
CHEMISTRY EDUCATION: An active area of research within both the disciplines of chemistry and education. The main focus of research is on learning and teaching of chemistry in schools, colleges and universities. The practice of chemical education is teaching chemistry to students and the training of teachers to teach chemistry. The research aspect deals with how to teach and how to improve learning outcomes.
CHILD: A young human. Depending on context it may mean someone who is not yet an adult, or someone who has not yet reached puberty (someone who is prepubescent).
CLASS SIZE REDUCTION: A state-funded program for kindergarten through third grade classes to ensure that there are no more than 20 students per teacher. A separate program supports some smaller classes for core subjects in ninth grade.

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