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SWSD Educational Jargon and Acronyms


Educational Acronyms and Jargon

What does it all mean?


ACES: Academic Coaches Enhancing Skills
Please visit the ACES and G&T page for more information about our ACES program.

AMO: Annual Measurable Objective
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). (Ed-data)

AYP: Adequate Yearly Progress
An individual state's measure of yearly progress toward achieving state academic standards.

BAW: Being a Writer
The district’s writing program.

BOE: Board of Education
A board of citizens controlling especially the elementary and secondary public-school education in a state, county, city, or town.

CST: Child Study Team
A multidisciplinary group of professionals typically employed by the board of education to provide parents and teachers with a variety of learning related services. These services include consultative, evaluative and prescriptive services for students who are experiencing academic difficulties. A typical CST consists of a psychologist, a learning disabilities consultant, social worker and oftentimes, a speech/language therapist alongside the student's parents.

DEAC: District Evaluation Advisory Committee
Each district is required to form a District Evaluation Advisory Committee composed of a diverse group of stakeholders to advise the district on the implementation of AchieveNJ, New Jersey's educator evaluation system.

EOY: End of Year Test  The EOY is the portion of the PARCC test that is administered in late April and May. 

G&T: Gifted and Talented
Please visit the ACES and G&T page for more information about our G&T program.

IEP: Individual Education Program
A written plan created for a student with learning disabilities. The plan is tailored to the student's specific needs and abilities, and outlines goals for the student to reach.

I&RS: Intervention and Referral Services Committee
A program that encourages designated, consulting teachers to assist other teachers who need help in developing their subject matter knowledge, teaching strategies, or both. They also help teachers to meet the standards for proficient teaching.

MAP: Measures of Academic Progress Measures of Academic Progress is a computer based assessment that creates a personalized assessment experience by adapting to each student’s learning level.

NCLB: No Child Left Behind
Signed into law by President Bush in 2002, No Child Left Behind sets performance guidelines for all schools and also stipulates what must be included in accountability reports to parents. It mandates annual student testing, includes guidelines for underperforming schools, and requires states to train all teachers and assistants to be "highly qualified".

PARCC: The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers  The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers is a group of states working together to develop a set of assessments that measure whether students are on track to be successful in college and their careers.These high quality K–12 assessments in Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy give teachers, schools, students, and parents better information whether students are on track in their learning and for success after high school, and tools to help teachers customize learning to meet student needs.   PBA: Performance Based Assessment The PBA is the portion of the PARCC test that is administered in March.    PBIS: Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports is a proactive approach to establishing the behavioral supports and social culture needs for all students in a school to achieve social, emotional and academic success.

PTO: Parent Teacher Organization
A national organization of parents, teachers, and other interested persons that has chapters in schools. They rely entirely on voluntary participation and offer assistance to schools in many different areas.

QUEST: Questioning, Understanding, Examining, Solving and Thinking
Please visit the ACES and G&T page for more information about our QUEST program.

RtI: Response to Intervention
Response to Intervention is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. The RTI process begins with high-quality instruction and universal screening of all children in the general education classroom.

ScIP: School Improvement Panel
Each school is required to form a School Improvement Panel whose role is to ensure, oversee, and support the implementation of the district's evaluation, professional development (PD), and mentoring policies at the school level.


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.  (Ed Source)

achievement test
A test to measure a student's knowledge and skills. 

Refers to the chosen curriculum of a particular school.

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. (Ed Source)

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. (Ed Source)

Teacher-made tests, standardized tests, or tests from textbook companies that are used to evaluate student performance.

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.

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. (Ed Source)

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 administrators..

A state-issued license certifying that the teacher has completed the necessary basic training courses and passed the teacher exam.

To place small groups of students together for instruction.

comparable growth
Subgroups of students in a school must improve their scores on standardized tests. They are expected to achieve 80 percent of the predominant student group's target, which is known as comparable growth.

cooperative learning
A teaching method in which students of differing abilities work together on an assignment. Each student has a specific responsibility within the group. Students complete assignments together and receive a common grade.

criterion-referenced test
A test that measures how well a student has learned a specific body of knowledge and skills. The goal is typically to have every student attain a passing mark, not to compare students to each other.  (Ed Source)

The courses of study offered by a school or district.

differentiated instruction
This is also referred to as "individualized" or "customized" instruction. The curriculum offers several different learning experiences within one lesson to meet students' varied needs or learning styles.

disaggregated data
The presentation of data broken into segments of the student population instead of the entire enrollment. Disaggregated data allows parents and teachers to see how each student group is performing in a school. (Ed Source)

Formative assessment
Any form of assessment used by an educator to evaluate students' knowledge and understanding of particular content and then to adjust instructional practices accordingly toward improving student achievement in that area. (Ed Source)

highly qualified teacher
According to NCLB, a teacher who has obtained full state teacher certification or has passed the state teacher licensing examination and holds a license to teach in the state; holds a minimum of a bachelor’s degree; and has demonstrated subject area competence in each of the academic subjects in which the teacher teaches. (Ed Source)

The practice of placing students with disabilities in regular classrooms. Also known as mainstreaming. (Ed Source)

language arts
Another term for English curriculum. The focus is on reading, speaking, listening, and writing skills.

The practice of placing students with disabilities in regular classrooms; also known as inclusion. (Ed Source)

Three-dimensional teaching aids and visuals that teachers use to help students with math concepts. Typical tools include counting beads or bars, base ten blocks, shapes, fraction parts, and rulers.

norm-referenced assessment
An assessment in which an individual or group's performance is compared with a larger group. Usually the larger group is representative of a cross-section of all US students. (Ed Source)

percentile ranks
One way to compare a given child, class, school, or district to a national norm.

An instructional strategy used to teach reading. It helps beginning readers by teaching them letter-sound relationships and having them sound out words.

professional development
Programs that allow teachers or administrators to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to perform their jobs successfully.

Mastery or ability to do something at grade level. The state goal is for all students to score at "proficient" or "advanced."

pull-out programs
Students receive instruction in small groups outside of the classroom.

resource teacher
A special education teacher who instructs children with various learning differences. Most often these teachers use small group and individual instruction.

Refers to a grading or scoring system. A rubric is a scoring tool that lists the criteria to be met in a piece of work. A rubric also describes levels of quality for each of the criteria. These levels of performance may be written as different ratings (e.g., Excellent, Good, Needs Improvement) or as numerical scores (e.g., 4, 3, 2, 1).

scientifically based research
Research that involves the application of rigorous, systemic, and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant to educational activities and programs.

special education
Special instruction provided for students with educational or physical disabilities, tailored to each student's needs and learning style.

staff development/in-service days
Days set aside in the school calendar for teacher training. School is not generally held on these days.

standardized test
A test that is in the same format for all who take it.

standards-referenced tests
Also known as standards-based assessments.

student teacher
A teacher in training who is in the last semester of a teacher education program. Student teachers work with a regular teacher who supervises their practice teaching.

Team teaching
A teaching method in which two or more teachers teach the same subjects or theme. The teachers may alternate teaching the entire group or divide the group into sections or classes that rotate between the teachers.

A system of due process and employment guarantee for teachers. After serving a two-year probationary period, teachers are assured continued employment in the school district unless carefully defined procedures for dismissal or layoff are successfully followed. (Ed Source)

Title 1
A federal program that provides funds to improve the academic achievement for educationally disadvantaged students who score below the 50th percentile on standardized tests, including the children of migrant workers. (Ed Source)

Additional resources on educational jargon and acronyms can be found using the links below: