HOME | Arts | Health | Language Arts | Math/Science | Social Studies | World Languages | Glossary
Alaska Department of Education & Early Development
Glossary of Terms for the World Language Frameworks
Accuracy. Accuracy in writing involves an editing and revision process which most of us find somewhat difficult. After the initial fast write, the students read their papers out loud in response groups. The response group members are trained to ask questions designed to help the writer clarify the work. The writer notes the questions and may choose to answer them or not in the revision. Usually, a first draft is not graded. The second draft (first revision) is edited for mistakes in grammar, spelling, usage, and punctuation. Then a final draft is prepared. In theory, the oral reading-response process is supposed to get the writers to edit one anothers work (and to correct their own work). In practice, this is extremely helpful. The teacher should structure the conference in such a manner that the student is responsible for correcting his or her own work. Conferencing is much more beneficial than writing comments on papers because it allows for personal contact.
ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines. 1986 description of levels of language ability along a continuum of progress. Each level is described by specific indicators of the performance at that level. (See Oral Proficiency Interview below and American Council of Teachers of Foreign Language in the Resource section of this document.)
Alaska 2000 Goals. Goals for an educated graduate of Alaskas public schools established by the State Board of Education. (See Appendix: The Reference Points.)
Articulation. Refers to a foreign language program which provides for a gradual, sequential progression of knowledge and skills from level to level.
Assessments. processes of appraising or evaluating student work. (See Evaluation below.)
Assumptions. While in mathematics, these are concepts that are taken to be true without proof or demonstration, those made in the framework are based on current educational research and practice.
Aural. Of, or relating to the ear or to the sense of hearing.
Authentic assessments. Assessments applying the knowledge of the target language and culture to real-life situations.
Bilingual. Using or able to use two languages, especially with the fluency characteristic of a native speaker.
CD-ROM. A disc, similar to music CDs, used to hold permanent information that can be accessed electronically and which provide rich, non-linear text. This framework is available on CD-ROM as well as in print and a Web site.
Cognitive processes. the mental faculties by which knowledge is acquired.
Collaborative work. shared project work by group of students.
Constructivist. Referring to an educational theory (constructivism) that posits that people construct personal understanding by modifying their existing concepts (or schema) in light of new evidence and experience in order to reduce discrepancies between past knowledge and new observations. This implies that students do not simply accept what has been taught, but rather shift their understanding in response to what has been taught.
Content Area. The subject area: in Alaska the arts, civics, English/language arts, geography, history, math, science, skills for a healthy life, technology, and world languages.
Content Based ESL. ESL taught in combination with academic subject matter in order to teach the kind of language and vocabulary necessary for academic subjects.
Cooperative Learning. Instructional strategies that develop cooperative group behaviors including the division of tasks, peer teaching, and individual and group accountability for products. Cooperative learning strategies explicitly teach students how to be productive and supportive group members.
Curriculum Framework. A document that provides information, guidelines, suggested resources, and models for districts as they revise curriculum.
Curriculum. Curriculum is what students should know, be able to do and be committed to (content), how it is taught (instruction), how it is measured (assessment), and how the educational system is organized (context).
Developmentally Appropriate Practice. The use of content, instruction, and assessment that meets the student's ability to reason, interpret, focus, communicate, and interact, both socially and academically. These abilities change significantly as a result of age and experiences.
Educational Equity. The provision of equal access to courses, facilities, and programs regardless of national origin, race, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, first language, etc.. Meeting the diverse educational needs of students, some of whom will require specific skills to be able to access the school curriculum.
Embedded Assessment. Assessment that occurs during the course of instruction and is indistinguishable from instruction. A test at the end of a unit is not embedded. Maintaining a checklist that is recorded by the teacher at any time when the teacher witnesses the student reaching an expectation is embedded.
Equity Evaluation. Inventories and assessments of the behaviors at sites or in districts that support or discourage equitable participation and success by students of all cultures. These can include collecting data on the participation and tracking of diverse students in particular classes, the cultural representation among visible learning partners in the schools, common instructional strategies, text analyses, library collection analyses, and attitude inventories among students, faculty and staff. (See sample Equity Checklist in the frameworks Reference Kit.)
ESL. English as a Second Language.
Evaluation. The process of testing, appraising, and judging achievement, growth, product, and process or changes in these using formal or informal techniques.
Fluency. Being able to put pen or pencil to paper and write without worrying about grammar, spelling, and punctuation. This is accomplished through a variety of pre-writing and fluency activities. Prewriting might include brainstorming, verbal responding to pictures or a film, word games, a storyanything to get the mind in gear for using language. The most common type of fluency exercise is the fast write, usually a timed (short, depends on group) writing period in which the class free-writes about a given topic. This helps get the words down on the paper so that further writing can take place.
Framework. Skeletal support used as the basis in an object being developed. In the case of Alaska content standards, the frameworks provide support for curriculum development committees and preservice institutions as they help teachers move students toward meeting the standards.
Hands-On Learning. Instructional activities in which the students manipulate the materials as contrasted with activities in which the students simply read about or hear about phenomena.
IEP. Individual Education Plans developed by professionals and parents to lay out a course of study suitable for the student.
Implications. Understood consequences of a set of concepts or assumptions.
Indigenous People. The original or natural inhabitants of an environment.
Inquiry-Based Learning. Instructional activities that are initiated through central questions or investigations. In inquiry-based learning students often determine the answers by collecting and synthesizing their own data.
Inservice Training. A program of staff development conducted during the school year.
Integrated, Interdisciplinary Instruction. Instruction that addresses standards from more than one content area. This can occur in a variety of forms: applied projects, thematic instruction, service learning projects, social-issue investigations, science-technology-society investigations, simulations, etc.
Interdisciplinary Curriculum. Topics and concepts tied together, i.e., thematic instruction.
Key Elements. Itemized lists that further describe the content of each standard. Key elements identify the major component parts, features, traits, or dimensions of the Alaska student content standards.
Language Experience. Experiencing communication through music, poetry, storytelling, role play, drama, and affective activities which often provide motivation to the student. To elicit language using actual experiences.
Learner-centered Instruction. Teaching and learning focused on the students needs, interests, and abilities.
Learning Partners. Parents, elders, primary caregivers, other family members, the business community, mentors, and other volunteers that work with students both in and out of the classroom.
Learning Styles. People tend to have preferences in their approach to learning tasks. Some prefer to make random associations. Others are more comfortable with structured interpretations. Some prefer abstract interactions with ideas, while others require a concrete experience to introduce a concept. Research suggests that most of us learn best when information is presented in a way that matches our preferred learning styles. Research also suggests that our learning style preferences can be broadened.
Limited English proficiency. Students who do not meet the established proficiency criteria.
Measurement Yardsticks (Processes, Instruments). The tools of assessment, including, but not limited to, checklists and other rubrics, portfolios, and tests.
Metacognitive Development. Thinking and applying thinking to problem-solving, and also thinking about the thinking, application, and problem-solving processes in order to make them more efficient.
Modality. A generic term referring to ways of thinking, including both learning styles and multiple intelligences.
Multiple Intelligences. Howard Gardner proposes that all humans are endowed with seven forms of intelligence: mathematical/logical, linguistic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, spatial, and kinesthetic. Schools usually emphasize the linguistic and mathematical/logical intelligences.
Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). Face to face oral interview conducted by a trained ACTFl interviewer who probes to find the upper level of sustained proficiency of the interviewee.
Performance Indicators. Expectations in the form of lists of abilities that are appropriate for students at different benchmarks. The Department of Education & Early Development is currently developing Alaska performance indicators for students at ages 8-10, 12-14, and 16-18.
Preservice. Training prior to being employed as a teacher.
Proficiency. Description of a level of ability to perform a skill. In a language, this term is used to describe the students ability to use the language in real life situations. (See ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines and Oral Proficiency Interview above.)
Realia. Implies to concrete things or objects for meaningful communication.
Reference Kit. Collection of reference books, articles, and tapes for English/language arts curriculum development committees to use during the curriculum revision process. These can be borrowed from the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development. Call 465-2800.
Regents. An organized body of members serving on the governing board of the University of Alaska.
Regulations. Authoritative rules dealing with details or procedures.
Reliable. The consistency of assessment results from an instrument over time or over a number of trials.
Rubric. A scoring guide including a summary listing of the characteristics that distinguish high quality from low quality work.
Scaffolding. Instruction that is organized in a way that identifies the students prior knowledge about a topic and creates connections between past understandings or experiences and new knowledge.
School to Work Opportunities Act. A national act that will bring together partnerships of employers, educators, and others to build a high quality School to Work system that prepares young people for careers in high-skill, high-wage jobs.
Scoring guides. See Rubric.
Standards. Broad lists of what students should know, be able to do , and be committed to. The State of Alaska has created content standards in the following areas: English/language arts, history, geography, civics/government, science, mathematics, arts, world languages, healthy life skills, and technology.
Statutes. Laws enacted by the legislative branch upon which educational regulations are based.
Student Questionnaire. A statewide questionnaire requesting such information as student demographics, activities, plans for the future.
Teacher Talent Bank. A list of educators willing to share their specific areas of expertise with others.
Teacher Education Standards. Guidelines for teacher preparation and professional development in Alaska (See Appendix: The Reference Points).
Technology. In this document technology refers to a variety of new and emerging electronic technologies such as computers, CD ROMs, LCD panels, the Worldwide Web.
Thematic Instruction. A specific form of integrated instruction in which students investigate many factors related to one topic or theme through many lenses.
Total Physical Response. A language teaching techniques based on the use of multiple modalities, especially physical activity. Physical activity is used to enhance retention of the target language.
Utility. The degree to which assessment information is useful, understandable, easily obtained, and affordable.
Validity. The degree to which an assessment instrument measures what it intends to measure.
Table of Contents