Parents » Acronyms & Terms

Acronyms & Terms

Below are a few educational acronyms and terms to help parents better understand the school system.
American College Test – A standardized test that is taken by high school students as a  precursor to college/university admission.

Annual Measurable Objectives

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.  

The minimum score required on a test to obtain a proficiency level score. 

English Language Learner Student whose  first language is one other than English and who needs language assistance to participate fully in the regular curriculum.

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 new language.

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  Assessment
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 level. 
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. 
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.

SACS Accredited
Southern Association of Colleges  and Schools accredits elementary, middle and high schools based on rigorous standards for school improvement that focus on student  performance.

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.”

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.   

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
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 Chapter  I.

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.