Today more than ever before there are many acronyms and
terms that may be unfamiliar to the general public. The same is true
when it comes to education. It's not surprising that parents and
others that do not work in the education field become confused and
bewildered when they are bombarded with so many of these acronyms
and terms. Hopefully, this list of the more frequently used acronyms
/ terms with their meanings will help to assist parents in having a
clearer understanding of what these mean.
[I-R] [S] [T-Z]
American College Test – A standardized test that is taken by
high school students as a precursor to college/university admission.
Annual Measurable Objectives
Advanced Placement- A program that enables high school students to
complete college-level courses for college placement and/or credit.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 also known as
President Obama's Stimulus Package which provides economic
assistance to the US in 2009-11.
Statement that provides a description of student knowledge expected
at specific grades, ages, or developmental levels. Benchmarks often
are used in conjunction with standards.
Checks for Understanding
A skill within a sub-category of a state performance indicator
in which a child should have a clear understanding.
A course-level expectation (CLE) is a statement that defines what
all students should know and be able to do at the end of a given
The minimum score
required on a test to obtain a proficiency level score.
Criterion referenced tests measure an individual student’s
performance against a predetermined set of standards which are
established based on the curriculum.
Early Intervening Services
English Language Learner Student whose first language is one other
than English and who needs language assistance to participate fully
in the regular curriculum.
End-of-Course Test - High school tests that include the
following areas: Algebra I, English I and II, U.S. History, and
Biology. New tests will be added over the next few testing cycles.
These tests are course dependant and used as part of the course
Elementary and Secondary Education Act- This is the principal
federal law affecting K-12 education. When the ESEA of 1965 was
reauthorized and amended in 2002, it was renamed the No Child Left
Behind (NCLB) Act.
English as a Second Language -A program model that delivers
specialized instruction to students who are learning English as a
A test given to eighth graders, which the results are used to
help select students’ classes in high school. The EXPLORE test
prepares students not only for their high school coursework, but for
their post–high school choices as well. It marks an important
beginning for a student's future academic and career success.
Formative assessments are designed to evaluate students on a
frequent basis so that adjustments can be made in instruction to
help them reach target achievement goals.
A grade-level expectation (GLE) is a statement that defines what all
students should know and be able to do at the end of a given grade
Gateway Test - A series of high school tests that include
subtests in the following areas: Algebra I, Biology, and English II.
These tests are graduation requirements for students who began 9th
grade any time starting with the 2000-2001 school year through the
2008-2009 school year. The Gateway Test will no longer be a
graduation requirement in Tennessee starting with high school
freshmen who begin high school in 2009-2010.
Health Occupations Students of America
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act - This federal law,
reauthorized in 2004, is designed to ensure that all children with
disabilities have available to them a free and appropriate public
education that emphasizes special education and related services
designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further
education, employment and independent living.
Individualized Education Program - The IEP is a written statement
for a student with a disability that is developed, at least
annually, by a team of professionals knowledgeable about the student
and the parent. The plan describes the strengths of the child and
the concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their
child, and when, where, and how often services will be provided. The
IEP is required by federal law for all exceptional children and must
include specific information about how the student will be served
and what goals he or she should be meeting.
Local Education Agency - Synonymous with a local school system or a
local school district, indicating that a public board of education
or other public authority maintains administrative control of the
public schools in a city or county.
National Assessment of Educational Progress - also known as the
"Nation's Report Card," NAEP assesses the educational achievement of
elementary and secondary students in various subject areas. It
provides data for comparing the performance of students in Tennessee
to that of their peers in the nation.
No Child Left Behind - NCLB is the 2002 reauthorization of the
Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
Norm Referenced Test - Gives a comparison of student performance
in five content areas against a national norm group of students
taking a similar test. The expectation is that the average score for
a school or school system will be at the national average. Examples
of such tests are be the NAEP, ACT, and the SAT test.
Office of Special Education Programs- An office of
the U.S. Department of Education whose goal is to improve results
for children with disabilities (ages birth through 21) by providing
leadership and financial support to assist states and local
A test given to 10th graders to help build a solid foundation for
future academic and career success and provides information needed
to address school districts' high-priority issues. It is a
comprehensive guidance resource that helps students measure their
current academic development, explore career/training options, and
make plans for the remaining years of high school and
Pre-Scholastic Assessment Test - Normally taken by high school
juniors as a practice test for the SAT. Some schools use the PSAT as
a diagnostic tool to identify areas where students may need
additional assistance or placement in more rigorous courses.
Response to Intervention- A method of academic intervention designed
to provide early, effective assistance to children who are having
difficulty learning. RTI seeks to prevent academic failure through
early intervention, frequent progress measurement, and increasingly
intensive research-based instructional interventions for children
who continue to have difficulty
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits
elementary, middle and high schools based on rigorous standards for
school improvement that focus on student performance.
The SAT Reasoning Test (formerly Scholastic Aptitude
Test and Scholastic Assessment Test) is a standardized test for
college admission in the United States. It assesses a
student's verbal, mathematical and writing skills.
State Collaborative on Reforming Education – A long-term education
reform that will "ensure that every child graduates high school
prepared for college or a career”.
State Board of Education
State Department of Education
School Improvement Plan - A plan that includes strategies for
improving student performance, how and when improvements will be
implemented, use of state funds, requests for waivers, etc. Plans
are in effect for no more than three years.
Specific Learning Disabilities-The official term
used in federal legislation to refer to difficulty in certain areas
of learning, rather than in all areas of learning. It is synonymous
with learning disabilities.
State Performance Indicators- A skill within a subject area
deemed necessary by the Tennessee State Department of Education that
a child should learn. The state performance indicators are used to
develop achievement test questions.
Summative assessment is generally carried out at the end of a course
or project. In an educational setting, summative assessments are
typically used to assign students a course grade.
Students With Disabilities
Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program - The umbrella under
which all Tennessee mandated tests are referenced.
Tennessee Diploma Project is a school reform initiative to raise
Tennessee’s standards and curriculum to better prepare students to
be successful after high school. Students beginning
high school in Fall 2009 will begin a new path with increased
graduation requirements from 20 credits to 22, a focus on the skills
needed for college and the workforce in an ever expanding global
economy, and new assessments. The goal is for students to graduate
with superior knowledge and skills allowing them a choice of
continuing their education or securing a desirable job.
Title I is the largest federal education funding program for
schools. Its aim is to help students who are behind academically or
at risk of falling behind. School funding is based on the number of
low-income children, generally those eligible for the free and
reduced price lunch program. Many of the major requirements in the
No Child Left Behind federal law are outlined in Title I – Adequate
Yearly Progress, teacher and paraprofessional standards,
accountability, sanctions for schools designated for improvement,
standards and assessments, annual state report cards, professional
development and parent involvement. Title I used to be known as
Tennessee Comprehensive System-wide Planning Process - An
improvement plan for the school system.
Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System- Value-added measures
student progress within a grade and subject, which demonstrates the
influence the school has on the students’ performance. This
reporting provides diagnostic information for improving educational
opportunities for students at all achievement levels.
Writing Assessment- A written test administered to grades 5, 8
and 11. This test is a state mandated test and results are used in
conjunction with the CRT, Gateway and End-of-Course test to
determine the standings of the school and system within the state
and to account for the state’s national ranking.
Work-Based Learning (WBL) activities are part of a
structured system, open to all students, at the high school level.
The activities allow students to apply classroom theories and
explore career options at the work site, as well as connect
classroom learning to work.