Educational Terms to Know
Throughout the school year you will hear many words and acronyms being used at meetings, in letters, and conversations. It is difficult to be a part of the conversation when you are not familiar with the words being used. It can be confusing, but remember you can always ask questions. Here are a few definitions to get you started.
Assessment: Process of identifying strengths and needs to assist in educational planning; includes observation, record review, interviews, and tests
Common Core: A set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA). These learning goals outline what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade
Curriculum: Knowledge and skills students are expected to learn, which includes the learning standards or learning objectives they are expected to meet; the units and lessons that teachers teach; the assignments and projects given to students; the books, materials, videos, presentations, and readings used in a course; and the tests, assessments, and other methods used to evaluate student learning
Digital literacy: Competency in using technology, including interpreting and understanding digital content and assessing its credibility as well as creating, researching, and communicating with appropriate tools.
Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE): Entitles a public school child with a disability to an educational program and related services to meet her unique educational needs at no cost to the parents; based on IEP; under public supervision and meets state standards
Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): Federal law that provides for special education and related services to eligible children with disabilities
Individualized Education Program (IEP): Written plan to meet the unique educational needs of a child with a disability who requires special education services to benefit from the general education program; applies to kids enrolled in public schools
MCAS 2.0: The new test, informally called "Next-Generation MCAS," will build upon the best aspects of the MCAS assessments that have served the Commonwealth well for the past two decades. The test will include innovative items developed by PARCC, along with new items specifically created to assess the Massachusetts learning standards.
McKinney-Vento: Primary piece of federal legislation dealing with the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness in U.S. public schools. It was reauthorized as Title X, Part C, of the No Child Left Behind Act in January 2002
Modification: Modifications are changes in the delivery, content or instructional level of a subject or test. They result in changed or lowered expectations and create a different standard for kids with disabilities than for those without disabilities
Social-emotional learning: Learning that deals with understanding and managing emotions. Helps kids understand and manage their emotions and understand, interpret, and respond appropriately to others' reactions, as well as develop empathy for others.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act: Federal civil rights law requiring school programs and buildings to be accessible to children with disabilities; protects from discrimination
WIDA: A multistate consortium focused on academic language development and academic achievement for linguistically diverse students through high quality standards, assessments, research, and professional development for educators