Defining education terms

BY BRANDON EIGHMY, Clarke Elementary Intermediate Principal

For some of you, this article will simply reaffirm what you already know. Others of you may be able to clear some confusion of all of the terms and acronyms and educational abbreviations that are out there. Parents, understandably, are confused by all the terms used by schools and teachers. They can be somewhat intimidating which leads to parents just being annoyed. So, here we go!

NCLB (No Child Left Behind Act) is the 2001 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It is a federal law that was designed to improve student performance and make schools, school districts, and states more accountable for students’ success or failure. This legislation is a major topic of discussion and debate among all stakeholders.

AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) was established under NCLB as the measure that states must use to show that their schools and school districts are effectively working to meet basic state standards for math and reading, as well as for attendance and high school graduation. Each state has its own system for measuring school progress, often involving statewide testing. ELL (English-language Learners) is a broad term used to describe students whose second language is English- that is to say children who are raised in homes where the main language spoken is not English. This term is beginning to replace other terms such as “Limited English Proficiency” or “English as a Second Language”.

IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) was created to help ensure that children who have special needs, such as dyslexia or autism, are able to receive a free public school education that meets their needs.

RTI (Response to Intervention) is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. Students’ progress is closely monitored at each stage of intervention to determine the need for another method of instruction and/or intervention in both general and special education.

BRI (Basic Reading Inventory) is a reading test given to students 2-3 times per year at Clarke Elementary. There are three different levels that are measured by the BRI: independent, instructional, and frustration.

Obviously, there is a myriad of terms and acronyms that teachers use. The important thing for parents to remember is to always ask. If you just aren’t sure what your teacher is talking about or you need a refresher, always ask.