State of Alaska
Appendix A Glossary

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Academic Language

The language students must learn to participate fully in the classroom and to read challenging text. In contrast to conversational language, academic language includes longer sentences, uses a more complex and specific vocabulary, and more complex sentence structures.

Accuracy and Automaticity in Reading

The decoding of words accurately and automatically, without (or with minimal) use of students’ limited attention or conscious cognitive resources (Rasinki, T.).

Alaska Early Childhood Coordinating Council

Established by Governor Parnell, the purpose of the AKECCC is to promote positive development, improved health outcomes, and school readiness for children prenatal through eight in the state by creating a culturally responsive, comprehensive, and accessible service delivery system that links service providers, empowers families, and engages communities. The AKECCC shall support the creation of a unified, sustainable system of early care, health, education, and family support for young children and their families. The AKECCC shall facilitate the integration and alignment of services, planning efforts, resources, policy development, and funding as well as establish connections between health, mental health, education, and family support systems and public and private partners.


The process of linking content and performance standards to assessment, instruction, and learning (CRESST).

All Children

Includes children with developmental delays or disabilities, children whose families are culturally and linguistically diverse, children from diverse socioeconomic groups, and other children with individual learning styles, strengths, and needs. (From the National Association for the Education of Young Children.)

Allocated instructional time

Time specifically dedicated to an area of study.


A seamless, unified transition from one part of the education system to the next (e.g. from elementary to middle school) especially with regard to the curriculum.


Assessment is the process of gathering and discussing information from multiple and diverse sources in order to develop a deep understanding of what students know, understand, and can do with their knowledge as a result of their educational experiences; the process culminates when assessment results are used to improve subsequent learning (Teaching Effectiveness Program).

Assessment literacy

Knowledge about the basic principles of sound assessment practice, including terminology, the development and use of assessment methodologies and techniques, familiarity with standards of quality in assessment (Assessment Terminology: A Glossary of Useful Terms).

Best practices

Strategies, activities or approaches that have been shown through research and evaluation to be effective and/or efficient and are the most current.

Building capacity

Building abilities, relationships and values that will enable organizations, groups and individuals to improve their performance and achieve their development objectives (UNEP).

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Parents, adoptive parents, and other significant adults who serve as the primary caregiver to young children.


Provides ongoing consistent support for implementation and instruction. It is nonthreatening and supportive – not evaluative. It gives a sense of how good professional development is (IRA).


The relationships that link the ideas in a text to create meaning for the readers.

Collaborative learning

Collaborative learning is based on the idea that learning is a naturally social act in which the participants talk among themselves (Gerlach, 1994). It is through the talk that learning occurs.

Collaborative planning

Collaborative planning involves a group, team, or partnership of people working and learning together to do the following:

  • Plan curriculum, units, or lessons including classroom-based assessments
  • Examine student work
  • Examine teacher work
  • Plan use and evaluation of instructional practices
  • Develop school improvement plans using student data
  • (ASCD)

Collaborative writing

Uses instructional arrangements in which adolescents work together to plan, draft, revise, and edit their compositions (Writing Next).


The reconstruction of the intended meaning of a communication; accurately understanding what is written or said (Harris, L. & Hodges, R.)

Comprehensive Literacy Instruction

Instruction that integrates reading, writing, listening, speaking, language, and technology across all content areas to promote critical thinking and learning.

Content area literacy

The level of reading and writing skill necessary to read, comprehend, and react to instructional materials in a given subject area (Handbook of Reading Research).

Content specific text

Text specific to a content area, such as math or Biology.

Content teachers

Teachers of content area classes, such as math or Biology.

Core curriculum

A predetermined body of skills, knowledge, and abilities taught to all students (Funderstanding).

Cultural literacy

Culturally literacy is the ability to understand and appreciate the similarities and differences in the customs, values, and beliefs of one’s own culture the cultures of others (NCREL).


Anything and everything that teaches a lesson, planned or otherwise (Wilson).

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Data-based decision making

Using and analyzing available information, such as test results, to make decisions about the direction and efficacy of aspects of the educational program.


The ability to translate the alphabet letters into recognizable sounds and to use that knowledge to sound out and pronounce words (Naperville Community Unit School District).

Developmental delay

Any significant lag in a child’s physical, cognitive, behavioral, emotional, or social development, in comparison with norms (Encyclopedia of Children’s Health).

Developmental disability

A severe, chronic disability of an individual 5 years of age or older that:

    1. Is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments;
    2. Is manifested before the individual attains age 22;
    3. Is likely to continue indefinitely;
    4. Results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity:
    5. . Reflects the individual's need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic services, supports, or other assistance that is of lifelong or extended duration and is individually planned and coordinated, except that such term, when applied to infants and young children means individuals from birth to age 5, inclusive, who have substantial developmental delay or specific congenital or acquired conditions with a high probability of resulting in developmental disabilities if services are not provided (Federal definition).

Developmentally appropriate practice

The teacher, school, or school district's selection of carefully selected curriculum based on the student's reasoning, communication, and interpretation skills, and on the student's ability to focus and interact in the classroom. These abilities and skills change over time, as students mature and develop. The selection of course content, instruction, and assessment techniques are important to maximize each student's potential in the classroom (

Diagnostic assessment

An individually administered assessment designed to identify strengths and needs of a student (McKenna and Stahl, 2008).

Differentiated instruction

Procedures for assisting students in learning, providing options, challenging students, and matching resources to students to maximize their learning (Tompkins, G.).

Direct instruction

Taking students through the steps of learning systematically, helping them see both the purpose and the result of each step (Purdue University).

Disciplinary literacy

The specialized skills and codes that someone must master to be able to read, write, and think in the various disciplines (science, math, literature, history) and technical fields (Shanahan).

Discussion protocol

An organized method and set of rules for classroom discussion designed to maximize student learning and participation.

Diverse learners

Learners requiring additional support in the learning process (e.g. special education, English language learners, gifted, etc.)

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Early Learning Guidelines

A resource development by the State of Alaska to provide guidance on children’s development and learning.

Early Literacy

What children know about reading and writing before they actually learn to read and write. (NICHD definition)

The process of building cognitive, language, and social-emotional skills needed for efficient reading skills. (Dr. Gabrielle Miller definition)

Engaging texts

Books that capture a reader’s attention or imagination.

English language learners (ELL)

A person who is in the process of acquiring English and has a first language other than English

Environmental print

The print of everyday life, such as road signs and menus.


The systematic collection and analysis of data needed to make decisions.

Expert opinion

When a person’s education, training, and experience provides an assessment, opinion, or judgment within the area of his or her competence, which is not considered known or available to the general public.

Explicit and systematic instruction

Explicit instruction and systematic refer to an instructional practice that carefully constructs interactions between students and their teacher. Teachers clearly state a teaching objective and follow a defined instructional sequence. Students move through the curriculum, both individually and in groups, repeatedly practicing skills at a pace determined by the teacher’s measurement of student needs and progress (Swanson, 2001).

Expressive and receptive language

The ability to convey (expressive) and take in and interpret (receptive) desired information.

Extension activities

Activities beyond the instructional time designed to reinforce student comprehension and other skills taught during that instructional time.

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Family culture

The beliefs, traits, attitudes, ideas and ideals, and environment, which a person inherits or is influenced by his/her parents and ancestors.

Five areas of reading

Fluency, Phonics, Phonemic Awareness, Reading Comprehension, and Vocabulary

Flexible grouping

A method of splitting students into groups for class activities based on specific goals, interests, and learning needs, rather than grouping the students by ability (


Reading smooth, quickly, and with expression (Tompkins, G.).

Formative assessment

Assessment that may occur during the process of a unit or course intended to foster development and improvement within an ongoing activity or may occur in the form of an observation by the teacher of the student’s progress.

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A distinctive type of category of literary composition such as poetry, drama, or biography.

Graphic organizers

A visual representation of what the student is learning.

Guided practice

A teaching strategy used to reinforce and practice previous learning with the teacher or other (e.g. computer) as support to the student, making sure the concept or skill taught is understood and practiced correctly.

High quality professional development

A comprehensive, sustained, and intensive approach to improving teachers’ and principals’ effectiveness in raising student achievement (NSCD).

Infant Learning Program

One of Alaska’s leading resources on the first three years of life. Its aim is to strengthen and support families to promote the healthy development of infants and toddlers with special needs.

Inquiry activities

Activities that engage students in analyzing immediate, concrete data to help them develop ideas and content for a particular writing task (Writing Next).


Services provided for a student that may modify the original curriculum, teaching approach, or group size to meet an individual’s needs. The modifications may take many forms but usually will adjust the frequency, duration, and/or intensity of the service.

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Job embedded professional development

Professional learning that occurs during the course of the usual activities of an educator’s workday.

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Kinesthetic learning

A learning style in which learning takes place by the student actually carrying out a physical activity, rather than listening to a lecture or watching a demonstration.


The ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate, compute and use printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization definition).

Literacy center

Literacy centers are areas in the classroom designed to allow students time for independent reading and writing practice. They are used to reinforce specific concepts. Literacy centers should contain meaningful, purposeful literacy activities that can be done individually or in small groups.

Literacy coach

A highly trained, school-based teacher who engages colleagues in collaborative problem-solving and inquiry-oriented conversations in order to change instructional practices that improve student achievement (Lyons, C. and Pinnell, G.).

Local Education Agency (LEA)

Local school districts.

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Master schedule

The schedule of classes in a school.


The act of a teacher or student serving as an example of a behavior from which other students can emulate or learn (

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Narrative skills

The ability to describe things and events and to tell stories.

Oral comprehension

Understanding what is heard.

Oral language

The expressive (speaking) and receptive (listening) aspects of language.

Organizational culture

The set of beliefs, values, and norms, together with symbols like dramatized events and personalities that represents the unique character of an organization, and provides the context for action in it and by it (G. Morgan).

Outcome assessment

A process conducted to gauge a program's educational quality and to engage into continual teaching and learning improvement (Makteam).

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Peer observations

When people are observed by someone at the same level, usually meaning a fellow teacher rather than an administrator. The person who observes then gives feedback to the one observed.

Performance-based assessment

Direct, systematic observation of an actual student performance or examples of student performances and rating of that performance according to pre-established performance criteria (Weins, M.S.).


The units of speech that make up words.

Phonemic awareness

The understanding that spoken language is composed of phonemes, or speech sounds. It involves the ability to blend, segment, and manipulate phonemes in spoken words. It is an auditory process that does not involve the use of print (CORE – Teaching Reading Sourcebook).


The connection of the sounds of spoken English with letters or groups of letters and the blending of the sounds of letters together to produce approximate pronunciations of unknown words (International Communication Learning Institute).

Phonological awareness

Involves the ability to notice, or manipulate, the individual sounds in words.

Play (interactive/cooperative)

Play is a vehicle for a child’s development, strengthens cognitive capacities, including sustained attention, memory, logical reasoning, language and literacy skills, imagination, creativity, understanding of emotions, the ability to reflect on one’s own thinking, restrain impulsivity, control one’s behavior, and take another person’s perspective.

Primary language

The language first taught and most used in the home.

Professional development

A comprehensive, sustained, and intensive approach to improving teachers’ and principals’ effectiveness in raising student achievement (Learning Forward).

Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)

Teams of educators systematically working together to improve teaching practice and student learning. Research suggests that such learning communities are characterized by the following:

  • supportive and shared leadership
  • shared values and vision
  • collective responsibility for students’ learning
  • the promotion of personal reflection and team collaboration
  • supportive physical and personal conditions

(Education World)

Progress monitoring

The process of collecting and evaluating data to make decisions about the adequacy of student progress toward a goal (Center on Instruction).


This component of reading fluency stresses the appropriate use of phrasing and expression (Rasinski, T.).

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The speed at which a person reads, generally measured as words per minute or words correct per minute (NECAP).

Revised Alaska Developmental Profile (RADP)

Required by the state for all children entering kindergarten or first grade for the first time. The purpose of the profile is to identify, record, and summarize the skills and behaviors students demonstrate. The RADP correlates to thirteen specific goals of the Alaska Early Learning Guidelines, five of which are literacy related.

Reciprocal conversations

Two-way conversation in which both parties practice active listening and reflection.


Post-reading or post-listening recalls in which readers or listeners tell what they remember (Kalmback, 1986).


An established set of criteria for scoring or rating students’ performance on tests, portfolios, writing samples, or other performance tasks (Weins, M.S.).

Running records

An assessment tool used to monitor and analyze a student's reading process by recording the reader's oral reading exactly as it is performed (

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Scaffold instruction

Instruction builds upon prior knowledge of a concept, or part of that concept, when introducing new information to increase the student’s level of understanding of the new concept.

Scientifically-based research

Data exist that show improvement for students who used the program compared to students who did not use the program.

  • Applies systematic, empirical methods of data collection drawing on observation and/or experimentation.
  • Uses measurements or observation that provides reliable, valid data.
  • Involves rigorous data analyses, testing hypothesis and justifying conclusion.
  • Ensures the studies are presented with detail and clarity to allow for replication.
  • Accepted by a peer-reviewed journal or panel of independent experts.


Screening assessment

Screening is a method of data collection for determining how each student is performing in a given area, compared to peers of their age. It is an initial step in instructional decision-making and is critical to identify needs early.

SEED Early Childhood Professional Development Plan

The plan is intended for multiple sectors of the early care and education workforce including child care, Head Start, pre-kindergarten, early intervention and home visitor programs. Aspects of the plan may also be useful for school-age care and friend, family and neighbor care. This plan will be useful for all people who work with young children, though it may not be their primary profession. This could include community groups, parents, volunteers, religious organizations and others. In addition to those who work in the childcare workforce, policy makers and administrators will benefit from the articulation of a professional development plan as they seek to make decisions that benefit young children in Alaska.

SEED Registry

The SEED Registry is Alaska’s recognition system for Early Childhood Educators. As a core component of Alaska’s System for Early Education Development (SEED), the Registry provides the vital link between various aspects of the Professional Development System within Alaska. The Registry has four main purposes that will help to improve the field of early care and education standards:

  • Collecting statewide data on our workforce
  • Bringing recognition and professionalism to the field of early care and education
  • Informing policy makers about the early care and education workforce
  • Tracking individual advancement on the Early Childhood Professional Development Framework for practitioners

Self-directed learning

Self-directed learning is the method used when a learner, rather than an institution, controls both the learning objectives and the means of learning. It is a continuous process, often informal, and an important factor in lifelong learning (Spears).

Sentence combining

Involves teaching students to construct more complex, sophisticated sentences (Writing Next).

Shared leadership

A partnership model wherein all stakeholders (students, parents, teachers, administrators) become school leaders in some ways and at some times as the school moves forward together toward the accomplishment of a shared goal (Moxley, 2000).

Social language conventions

Shared meaning around the words associated with conversations.

State Education Agency (SEA)

The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development


Involves explicitly and systematically teaching students how to condense large amounts of text into several key concepts.

Summative assessment

The final evaluation of the degree to which the goals and objectives of a program have been attained (Harris, T. and Hodges, R.).

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Tiered instruction and intervention

A model in which the instruction and interventions delivered to students varies on several dimensions that are related to the nature and severity of the student's difficulties (RTI Action Network).

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Universal screening

A process in which all students are assessed to identify those at risk for failure.


The words we must know to communicate effectively (NICHD).

Writing process

A process that interweaves a number of writing instructional activities in a workshop environment that stresses extended writing opportunities, writing for authentic audiences, personalized instruction, and cycles of writing--pre-writing, planning, drafting, revising, editing (Writing Next).

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