Edu-speak, the dictionary
Why is this used?
As list member Lonnie Turbee put it:
One of the reasons educrats use language like this is because, whether
they're conscious of it or not, it gives them power over us mere "lay"
parents. It has actually worked to intimidate me! I never became
a public school teacher (I've always taught at the university level), so
I never had a professional reason to "cognitively interact" with
such drivel, although I've read plenty of the nonsense that shows up in
professional journal articles - may have written some of it myself. It's
saddening to think of all the parents who are valiantly struggling to do
their best by their kids inside the school system who are faced
with educrats who use this kind of power play to keep everyone, kids and
parents, under control.
This list was compiled by Amy Leinen and is being posted with her permission:
The definitions of these terms are below.
cause and effect
fine motor skills
IEP (Individual Educational Plan)
large motor skills
whole language approach
This page has been visited times since October 1, 2004
- The extent to which students and educators take responsibility for
- Alternative assessment:
- (innovative assessment) non-standardized measurement, evaluation, testing.
- Anecdotal records:
- short accounts of observed incidents. Alternative Assessment
Coined to separate a new generation of assessment tools stressing complex
tasks and thinking processes from traditional tasks that often stressed
lower-order thinking skills (e.g., short answer and multiple choice).
- is the process used to make sense of the data collected in the testing
of hypotheses. Analyzing may include organizing and categorizing data,
graphing, or computer analysis to search for patterns in the data.
Through analyzing we try to interpret the data in light of existing knowledge
- Analytical trait scoring:
- a scoring procedure in which performances are judged and scored separately
for separate criteria, traits or dimensions. An example is providing separate
scores for important decisions of problem solving in mathematics like understanding
the problem, selecting and using mathematical procedures, and communicating
clearly what was done.
Analytical scoring is especially useful when the purpose of assessment
is to provide students with very focused information about the strengths
of their work and ideas about which traits need improvement.
- refers to the use of knowledge. Sometimes knowledge is used to expand
explanation or theory; sometimes it is used to revise or build new hypotheses
or theory. These are examples of application within science.
Sometimes, however, knowledge or processes are used in practical ways such
as building a bridge, inventing a new instrument or technique, or improving
on an existing product or design. These are examples of application in
- The process of collecting and analyzing information about performance
and/or ability, and programs' effectiveness, in order to make sound decisions
about students and programs and to understand their learning and to help
them continue to grow.
- Authentic Assessment:
- Often used synonymously with Performance Assessment, but it can also
mean an assessment which uses only real-world tasks as the basis for information
about how well a person can perform certain tasks. It is ways of evaluating
activities that are essential, genuine and meaningful in themselves. Often
involves active, collaborative participation.
- examples of performances that serve as a standard against which other
papers or performances may be judged.
- The process of putting objects or events together on the basis of a
logical rationale. There are two kinds of categorizing, grouping and classifying.
When scientists group objects, they put them together on the basis of a
single property. Leaves might be grouped by type of venation, size, shape,
and so on. Grouping is useful in revealing similarities and differences
that otherwise might go unnoticed. Classifying involves putting items together
on the basis of more than a single property at a time.
- to cooperate with, join together and participate; to work with each
other to accomplish set goal(s).
- The process of giving, sending, or exchanging thoughts, feelings, opinions,
and information orally or in writing.
- Community of learners:
- students and teachers working together as a team to develop a sense
of purpose and ability for learning.
- Computational skills:
- These include the ability to make mental calculations rapidly and accurately;
to perform calculations using paper and pencil and calculators; and to
estimate approximate answers to check on the reasonableness of other computations.
- Computer skills:
- Increasingly science and technology rely on effective use of computers
to collect data, store and retrieve information, organize data in spreadsheets
and graphs, communicate with other computers and researchers, and prepare
written reports of research. Teachers should also emphasize student development
of computer skills of measuring using sensors, analyzing data, storing
and retrieving data in various forms, and reporting and displaying results
of their investigations.
- Conceptual connections:
- linking general and fundamental ideas needed to reason, problem solve,
and/or create new knowledge.
- theory of learning that focuses on allowing students to make meaning
for themselves through active learning experiences.
- the key characteristics or qualities of fine work. They are used in
rubrics and scoring guides to describe or as the basis for making informed
judgments about the quality of student responses, products and performances.
Other terms that are sometimes used are dimensions or traits.
- Criterion-referenced assessment:
- an assessment designed to show what a student knows, understands, or
can do in relation to specific performance objectives. Criterion-referenced
assessments are used to identify student strengths and weaknesses. For
example, "She typed 55 words per minute without errors." Criterion-referenced
assessments focus on what each child has learned and assume that most students
can achieve the objectives of the curriculum.
Thinking and Problem Solving:
- Concepts that have been rethought recently, since industry reports
that many incoming workers are "not able to think or solve problems."
Methods devised to correct this include considering all the elements of
thinking (purpose, question, data, interpretation, concepts, assumptions,
implications, point of view) and applying to them universal intellectual
standards (clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, etc.).
A good critical thinker can solve problems efficiently.
- Decision-making skills
- :These thinking skills enable students to arrive at appropriate solutions
to problem situations, to judge assertions, to separate facts from opinions.
These skills include identifying problems, seeking alternative solutions,
applying knowledge, evaluating alternatives, and selecting a course of
- indicates mastery of content as well as exploratory procedures. Often
included in an exhibition or 'conference'.
- branch of learning/knowledge; field of study.
- all the ways of representing, thinking, talking, agreeing, and disagreeing
that students and teachers engage in. Discourse may take a variety of forms:
oral, written, pictorial, symbolic, and graphic.
- Dyadic learning:
- paired partner approach to promoting problem solving. Based on research
results of quicker and more thorough understanding of material.
- making judgments about the quality of student work using information
about learning gathered through assessments. Good evaluations of learning
are generally based on multiple sources of assessment information.
- Exit outcomes:
- what students should know and be able to do after completing a unit,
a program, a grade, or a school.
- person who plans and leads instructional activities, yet lets the students
still be responsible for their own learning.
- Feed forward:
- the process of using criteria to communicate about student work in
progress so that it can be improved as it is developing. When a teacher
or student gives feed forward, they describe the strengths of current work
and raise questions or make suggestions based on the criteria. Feed forward
takes place in the midst of learning rather than at the end.
- Fishbowl format:
- A circular audience observing a central group of role-players or discussants.
- A grade is a symbol (traditionally a number or letter) that summarizes
the level of student work.
- Habits of mind:
- Values, attitudes, and skills that indicate a person's outlook on learning.
- Holistic scoring:
- a scoring procedure that results in a single summary score for the
whole or a piece of student work. Holistic scores are based on an overall
impression of a student product or performance. Criteria are used in holistic
scoring but result in a single score or description that reflects the single
level of performance.
- Home assessments:
- the assessments that take place in the midst of instruction and are
an integral part of students' learning.
- Imaginative skills:
- Much of science and technology relies on the human capacity to create
new ideas and solutions. Imagining, inventing, modeling, and creative thinking
all play an important part in furthering our understanding in science and
- An inference is reasoning based on observation and experience. To infer
is to arrive at a decision or opinion by reasoning from known facts. For
example, I can see that someone is smiling. From this, I can infer from
my experience that he is happy. It is particularly easy to think that an
inference is a fact. It takes critical thinking to distinguish between
the two. In the example of the smiling student, I do not know that the
student is happy. He may be smiling for some other reason.
- Information literacy:
- the internalization of the research process to the point of successful,
flexible application. The ability to refine data to information and use
it to solve needs. Such application, combining judgment, decision-making,
and common sense can be used functionally, aesthetically, academically,
- Instructional Strategy:
- Refers to the method of instruction selected to maximize student learning.
The best instructional technique is determined by the objective(s) to be
learned. There are many choices available to the educator. For example,
class lecture (i.e., one-way communication), interactive lecture (i.e.,
tendency toward more two-way exchange of information), laboratory assignments,
poster displays, multimedia presentations, printed materials (e.g., handouts,
books, journals), small group sessions (e.g., discussion, problem-solving,
problem-based learning), consultations (e.g., friends, family), and projects.
- Interpersonal skills:
- These are related to communication skills, but are more specific about
individual behaviors. They include cooperating, sharing, listening, participating,
and leading. They also include respecting others. Interpersonal skills
enable students to work well with others to get a job done.
- investigation and search for information and knowledge.
- (also log, daily log, learning log, notebook, daybook, diary, progress
sheet) From accurate records of daily accomplishments to reflective comments
on the research process, including associative thinking and strategic decisions
- Manipulative skills:
- These include working with the hands. To work, operated or treat with
or as with the hand or hands.
- providing the observer with a walk-through sample of a process or a
level of expectation. Especially helpful in making concepts or strategies
or standards less abstract.
- Multiple intelligences:
- theory formulated by Howard Gardner to describe the broad range of
capabilities used by humans in solving problems and creating things and
- Norm-referenced assessment:
- An assessment designed to show how a student's performance or test
results rank when compared to the work of an appropriate peer group. Norm-referenced
assessments assume that some students will do very well, some will do very
poorly, and most will fall somewhere in the middle. Norm-referenced assessments
focus on providing information about which child knows most and which knows
least and how to rank the work of everyone in between.
- We use our senses to gather information about the world around us.
observing is the most fundamental scientific thinking process. Only through
observing are we able to acquire information about the world around us.
Given objects to play with the young student will look, touch, smell, taste,
and listen to them. These sensory actions enable the learner to construct
a view of the world and how it works. By observing, humans gather information
as raw material for constructing fundamental knowledge.
- a task or inquiry without a single answer. The student is not seeking
what the teacher has decided is the 'right' answer, but a justifiable one
within the assignments purview. Open-ended questions usually require higher
order thinking, such as comparison, analysis, synthesis, evaluation.
- arrange, coordinate, or manipulate parts and elements to achieve an
objective or goal.
- is the process of putting objects or events into a linear format. There
are two kinds of ordering, serration and sequencing. Serration is organizing
objects along a continuumfrom rough to smooth, dim to light, sharp
to dull, light to heavy, soft to loud, and so on.
- Organizational skills:
- Organizational skills enable people to plan and carry on activities
effectively. To put order to a situation, objects, or people.
- Outcome-based education (OBE):
- school curriculum and instructional methods based on planning backwards
- beginning by deriving "exit outcomes" that are assessed by
"performance indicators". Premised on belief that all students
can be successful learners. Most states have or are developing mandated
"frameworks" based on this concept. Since the phrase has become
the target of some groups, other nomenclature is sometimes used.
- Paper and pencil assessment
- : an assessment that generally uses questions or test items that require
students to select a response from choices that are given. Paper and pencil
assessments use formats such as multiple choice, true/false, and matching.
Another paper and pencil format which requires students to create a response
is the short answer or fill in item.
- the work of a teacher; the art and science of teaching; instructional
methods and strategies.
- Performance assessment:
- an assessment based on direct observation of students' performances
or products and involves using performance criteria to make judgments about
the performance or product created by students. It uses assessment activities
that require students to construct a response, create a product, or apply
their knowledge and capabilities. Most performance assessments do not have
a single correct answer and students can use more than one approach to
complete the task. Good performance assessments consist of a learning task
that students respond to and a set of criteria that guide scoring and feed
- Performance-based education:
- Defining what students should be able to do, planning ways for them
to learn to do it, teaching them, and assessing their performance.
- Performance indicators:
- a component of Learning Results which defines the stages of achievement
towards meeting the content standard for each of the four grade spans.
- Performance Task:
- A project, exhibit, portfolio, or other demonstration which shows an
individual's ability to handle complex material and apply his or her knowledge
to processes which have "real-world" applications.
- Personal communication:
- a form of assessment that uses oral questions and student responses
as opportunities for assessment. It also includes interviews, student questions,
and informal conversations.
- A collection of work used to determine proficiency in one or more areas
over a specified amount of time. Criteria for selection of work in a portfolio
may be student- or teacher-generated. Portfolios can be used for information
or assessment purposes. Formal folders/files/disks/videotapes containing
specific samplings of student work. Assembled over time, it documents a
student's efforts. Student selection of work requires self-assessment.
Informal portfolios may include all student work over a time period. A
working portfolio is a storage place for works-in-progress. The working
portfolio is an excellent vehicle for process assessment.
- the method a student employs in her work, usually involving a number
of steps or operations. A systematic series of actions directed toward
some end. Students should be able to articulate how they utilized the research
- Process skills:
- children use their senses to collect information about the world around
them, observing its characteristics as objectively as possible. They test
what they know against what they don't know by comparing features and behaviors
for similarities and differences. They organize their understandings by
ordering and categorizing them into broader, more general groupings. They
study interactions among objects and describe the events, relating factors
that reveal deeper understanding about causes and effects. Children hypothesize
and predict what will happen based on their accumulated knowledge and upon
the events they expect to take place, inferring something that they have
not yet observed.
- a measure of how a student is faring over time toward a well-defined
goal: at this rate, will the student reach the goal within an expected
- a complex assignment requiring broad competencies, usually interdisciplinary,
and significant student initiative. Can be comprised of performance, competition,
collaborative activities. Contrasted with activities that require less
planning, decision-making. Often used as both part of curriculum and as
a basis for formal or informal performance assessment in lieu of a test.
- (pump-primer) a scenario, a focus, a beginning sentence, a what-if,
to stimulate or structure student effort. Prompts can serve as models as
students begin developing their own topics. Some prompts are extensive,
and include information on the purpose of and audience for the student's
response. Can be over-used, resulting in chronic student expectation of
teacher directives instead of employment of intrinsic motivation and inspiration.
- taking a step backward to reconnoiter and confirm or reset research
direction. A formative approach to solving an information problem. When
used consistently, creates a spiral effect.
learning or reflective teaching:
- looking back at or reflecting on teaching/learning practices for the
purpose of analyzing, evaluating, and strengthening the quality of learning
experiences; reflecting on teaching/learning practices with a spirit of
inquiry, continually seeking to understand which plans, decisions, and
actions are effective in the learning process and which are not.
- an indication of the consistency of scores across evaluators over time
or across different versions of a test. For example, a test is reliable
when different teachers or other evaluators give student responses the
same or similar scores no matter when the assessment takes place or who
does the scoring.
- a process for communicating about student learning; preparing and presenting
detailed accounts or statements about student learning. Grades are often
used in reporting, but more recent trends in assessment have expanded reporting
to include portfolio conferences, student self-assessment, exhibitions
of mastery, narrative descriptions of learning, and developmental continua
that show where students current performance is in relation to common expectations.
- Resource-based teaching:
- The use of a variety of resources in a variety of formats as content
for a topic. May supplement a textbook or stand alone. Much of the content
may be gathered and shared by students.
- a guide for scoring student performances and products. Rubrics are
built from criteria that describe the characteristics of products or performances
using a scaledescriptions or numbers that indicate levels of performance.
A rubric may also be holistic - a rule grading a whole piece with one score,
or analytic - scoring specific aspects of the piece separately.)
- the process of having students look at their own work and apply agreed-upon
criteria to judge the quality of their work. When students self-reflect,
they think about their own learning and use both their thoughts and collections
of their work as a mirror to look at their own strengths, weaknesses and
- a self-directed student is an intrinsically motivated learner who independently
seeks methods to arrive at goals.
- Sensory skills:
- These include seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting; all
the ways that we take in information about the world around us.
- a statement about what is valued that can be used for making a judgment
- Student-centered curriculum:
- a curriculum that takes into account what students already know to
build and refine their understanding of new concepts.
- is the process of connecting existing knowledge with new discoveries
to develop a new or deeper understanding of phenomena. It is through synthesizing
that we build our own personal knowledge as well as build the body of knowledge
known as life education.
- application of knowledge to develop tools, materials, techniques, and
systems to help people meet and fulfill their needs.
- is the process of designing and carrying out experiments to determine
if our hypotheses, predictions, and inferences are true. The test usually
consists of asking questions of nature, questions that are implied in the
hypotheses. The theory and hypotheses we are dealing with also guide the
kinds of observations we will make to determine if our ideas are correct.
- A theory is a logical explanation or model based on observation, facts
hypotheses, experimentation, and reasoning that attempts to explain a range
of natural phenomena. Theories are constantly subject to testing, modification,
and refutation as new evidence and ideas emerge. Theories also have predictive
capabilities that guide further investigation.
- refers to whether an assessment measures what it is supposed to measure.
For example, a valid assessment of mathematics problem solving would focus
on the student's ability to solve problems and not on the ability to read
and Quantitative Research:
- Used to describe two research methods. The differences between the
two are philosophical. One formulation is that "quantitative methods
have developed largely to confirm or verify theory, whereas qualitative
methods have been developed to discover theory." What that means practically
is that quantitative research may use more "objective" measurements
to test hypotheses which give means for controlling and predicting behavior,
while qualitative research may use more "subjective" observations