Assigning students to classes based on their past achievement or presumed ability to learn (also known as homogeneous grouping). Grouping students according to




НазваниеAssigning students to classes based on their past achievement or presumed ability to learn (also known as homogeneous grouping). Grouping students according to
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ability grouping


Assigning students to classes based on their past achievement or presumed ability to learn (also known as homogeneous grouping). Grouping students according to their actual progress in a particular school subject is different from grouping them according to assumptions about their ability to learn the subject—although the results may be quite similar. And grouping them by subject is different from tracking, which strictly speaking refers to placing them in the same groups for all their classes based on their general ability to learn. Students may also be grouped within classes, but intraclass grouping permits more flexibility so is less controversial.

Whether students should or should not be grouped by ability is a persistent issue in education. Advocates say it is unrealistic to expect teachers to provide for the great range of differences in student backgrounds and abilities, and that a certain amount of grouping is better for students. Critics contend, citing research, that when students are grouped by ability, those in lower tracks are usually taught poorly and don't get exposed to "high-status" knowledge.

 










abstinence only


The view that sex and family-life education courses should teach that sexual intercourse is always inappropriate for young unmarried people. Advocates say it is self-defeating for educators to say, "You shouldn't, but if you do…." Instead, they say, adults must communicate an unambiguous message that sex outside marriage is wrong. Opponents of the abstinence only position, which is sometimes required by law, say it ignores the reality of widespread sexual activity and deprives young people of information they should have, especially with the current threat of AIDS.










accountability


The responsibility of an agency to its sponsors and clientele for accomplishing its mission with prudent use of resources. In education, accountability is currently thought to require measurable proof that teachers, schools, districts, and states are teaching students efficiently and well, usually in the form of student success rates on various tests.

In recent years, most accountability programs have involved adoption of state curriculum standards and required state tests based on the standards. Many political leaders and educators support this approach, believing that it brings clarity of focus and is improving achievement. Others argue that, because standardized tests cannot possibly measure all the important goals of schooling, accountability systems should be more flexible and use other types of information, such as dropout rates and samples of student work.

 










accreditation


Official recognition that an individual or institution meets required standards. Accreditation of teachers is usually referred to as licensing or certification.

Schools are accredited in two ways: by voluntary regional accrediting associations (such as the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement), and by state governments, which are legally responsible for public education. Most high schools seek and receive accreditation by their regional association so that their graduates will be accepted by institutions of higher education. However, that form of accreditation does not necessarily ensure recognition by the state. In recent years, some states have begun to refuse state accreditation to schools with unacceptably low scores on state standards tests.

 










achievement gap


Persistent differences in achievement among different types of students as indicated by scores on standardized tests, teacher grades, and other data. The gaps most frequently referred to are those between whites and minority groups, especially African-Americans and Hispanics.

 










achievement tests


Tests used to measure how much a student has learned in various school subjects. Most students take several standardized achievement tests, such as the California Achievement Tests and the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills. These norm-referenced, multiple-choice tests are intended to measure students' achievement in the basic subjects found in most school districts' curriculum and textbooks. Results are used to compare the scores of individual students and schools with others—those in the area, across the state, and throughout the United States.










action research


Systematic investigation by teachers of some aspect of their work in order to improve their effectiveness. Involves identifying a question or problem and then collecting and analyzing relevant data. (Differs from conventional research because in this case the participants are studying an aspect of their own work and they intend to use the results themselves.) For example, a teacher might decide to give students different assignments according to their assessed learning styles. If the teacher maintained records comparing student work before and after the change, he would be doing action research. If several educators worked together on such a project, it would be considered collaborative action research.










active learning

Any situation in which students learn by moving around and doing things, rather than sitting at their desks reading, filling out worksheets, or listening to a teacher. Active learning is based on the premise that if students are not active, they are neither fully engaged nor learning as much as they could. Some educators restrict the term to mean activities outside of school, such as voluntary community service, but others would say that acting out a Shakespeare play in the classroom is active learning.











ADA


See average daily attendance.











ADD and ADHD


See definition for attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.










advanced placement (AP) program


College-level courses offered by high schools to students who are above average in academic standing. Most colleges will award college credit to students who pass one of the nationally standardized AP tests. Passing AP tests can save students time and tuition on entry-level college courses.










advisory system


A way of organizing schools so that all students have an adult advisor who knows them well and sees them frequently. Although most schools have trained counselors, the counselors work with hundreds of students and cannot see any one student very often. To make advisory groups as small as possible, schools ask staff members who are not classroom teachers—sometimes including the principal, the librarian, or others—to serve as advisors. Most schools schedule periods of time, sometimes daily, for advisory groups to meet for group and individual activities.










affective education


Schooling that helps students deal in a positive way with their emotions and values is sometimes called affective to distinguish it from cognitive learning, which is concerned with facts and ideas. Programs designed to help students handle their emotions, which might at one time have been termed affective education, are now more frequently called social and emotional learning.











AFT


See the American Federation of Teachers.










alignment


The effort to ensure that what teachers teach is in accord with what the curriculum says will be taught and what is assessed on official tests. If students are not taught the intended content—because of inadequate learning materials, inadequate teacher preparation, or other reasons—or if official tests assess knowledge and skills different from those taught, test scores will obviously be lower than they otherwise would be. For this reason, schools and school districts often devote considerable attention to alignment. In general, this is a desirable practice. However, alignment can be destructive if the process is driven by tests that themselves are inadequate, and if educators feel obligated to teach only what the tests measure.






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