Teacher Terminology A Parent’s Guide to Educators’ Lingo
Accommodation: The use of material, a device, or a support process (e.g., giving the student more time than his classmates) to help a student learn or complete a task.
Active Listening: A technique that has the listener repeat in his own words what the speaker has said in order to demonstrate his understanding.
Benchmark: An expected level of achievement for students at particular grades, ages, or developmental levels.
Cognitive Skills: The underlying tools that enable you to successfully think, prioritize, plan, understand, visualize, remember, create useful associations, and solve problems. They include: visual and auditory processing, logic & reasoning, processing speed, attention, and memory.
Core Academics: Typically, subjects required in middle and high school, which include English, math, science, and history.
Common Core: A set of college- and career-ready standards for K-12 in math and English language arts/literacy.
Dimensions of Learning: The five elements of a teaching/learning situation: confidence and independence; knowledge and understanding; skills and strategies; use of prior and emerging experience; critical reflection.
GATE (Gifted And Talented Education): Instruction for students that have been identified as intellectually gifted or talented. GATE programs offer supplemental curriculum to keep the students interested and challenged.
IEP (Individual Education Program): A written plan for a student with learning disabilities to address the student’s specific needs and abilities. It’s often created together by teachers, parents, the school administrator, and others who may need to be involved.
Lexile Measure/Scale: A student’s level on a developmental scale of reading ability. This number helps teachers, parents, and students choose appropriately difficult books within their Lexile range.
Magnet School: A school that focuses on a particular discipline. These could include arts, math, science, computer science, etc.
Manipulatives: Often used to teach math concepts, these three-dimensional teaching aids and visuals include things like rulers, shapes, and counting beads.
NCLB (No Child Left Behind): An Act of Congress that authorized several federal education programs. One major goal of the law was to close student achievement gaps. NCLB requires states to test students in reading and math in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school.
Paraprofessional: An assistant to the teacher.
Rubric: A grading system or scoring tool that lists criteria and levels of quality for each criteria. These levels are usually scored in numbers (e.g., 4, 3, 2, 1) or words (e.g., Excellent, Good, Needs Improvement).
Specials: Nonacademic classes, such as art, music, and physical education.
Tracking: Organizing students in groups based on their academic skills. It allows teachers to instruct the group at the same level.