There are a lot of educational terms to learn and they are changing and adding new ones all the time. As a parent I know all these terms can be confusing so here are 10 educational terms every parent needs to know.
Standards-based refers to the standards being taught by your state. Your state has either created their own set of standards or are using Common Core standards. Standards basically outline what teachers teach each year for each grade. In most states, the standards are based on common core standards but have been adapted for each state. Here is an example of a Kindergarten standard in my state of Oklahoma. “ Count aloud in forward sequence to 100 by 1’s and 10’s. The same Kindergarten standard for Common core reads “Count to 100 by 10’s and 1’s.” One’s a little wordier as you can see but they are both basically the same thing. Your child’s teacher should be using these either common core standards or the State standards.
Different from standards, a curriculum can loosely be described as how something is taught. What lessons will be taught, the kinds of materials that are used, types of assignments, and assessments or tests will be used. The curriculum is usually created at the teacher’s discretion. In most districts teachers have the ability to teach skills in any way deemed best for student achievement. This means teachers can adjust the curriculum to fit their students’ needs as long as they accomplish the standard they are teaching. An example would be. One Kindergarten teacher teaching the standard -counting to 100 by 1’s and 10’s may have her students learn this in a song, another teacher may have them learn them by writing the numbers with sidewalk chalk. Both teachers are teaching the same standard but are teaching in different ways. Learn more about the OG method.
Response to Intervention (RTI)
Response to intervention is what teachers use when a student is missing or is taking longer to master that skill. RTI is a set of steps taken to give specific students more opportunities to learn as a skill. RTI has 3 Tiers. Tier 1- Whole group Instruction, Tier 2- Small group instruction, and Tier 3 one-on-one instruction. In Tier 2 and 3 teachers begin to collect data to monitor students’ progress. This data is used to evaluate what steps need to be taken to help that student and if special educational testing is needed.
IDEA is the Individuals with Disability Education Act. This act falls under the Equal protection act in the 14th Amendment which means every state has to adhere to its rules. This law was created so all students with disabilities have a free and appropriate public education designed to meet their individual needs in the least restrictive environment. If your child is on an IEP you need to be familiar with IDEA.
3rd Grade Retention Legislation
Third Grade Retention Legislation is especially important if you have a child going into the 3rd grade. This legislation allows students not reading proficiently by 3rd grade to be retained. Depending on what state you live in this legislation could allow or require retention. This legislation is only active in about 26 states. Research the legislation in your state so you will know what is required.
Your child’s learning style is the way your child learns best. It is important for teachers and parents to know their child’s/students’ learning style so that you can teach your student or child in a way that is best for them. The Most common are Visual, Auditory, Tactile, and Kinesthetic.
Visual learners learn by seeing. They need lots of pictures and diagrams to aid in their learning. Auditory Learners need to be read to or read information out loud, audiobooks are great for this type of learner. Tactile learners need to touch and manipulate items they are learning about. Drawing and writing also help this kind of learner. Kinesthetic learners need to do something. This learner needs large body movements to learn best. The OG method integrates learning styles for all learners, learn more about the OG method here.
English Learning Arts (ELA)
This used to just be reading, writing grammar, and spelling. In recent years these skills have all been grouped together under this term. The skills are still taught individually, like vocabulary and grammar. So when you hear this term know it just means reading and all the reading skills.
Standardized Testing is the testing that your child will take at the end of the year. In my state students begin testing in 3rd grade through 12th grade. These tests are designed to “measure” proficiency or how well a student has learned what they were taught in that year. Standardized testing is closely connected to school funding, meaning it is something we as teachers and school officials must comply with. As a parent, I don’t completely agree with it nor do I believe the results best represent student proficiency.
Generally when you hear the word rigor it refers to how hard an assignment is, but that’s not exactly right. According to Edglossary” rigorous learning experiences motivate students to learn more and learn it more deeply, while also giving them a sense of personal accomplishment when they overcome a learning challenge—whereas lessons that are simply “hard” will more likely lead to disengagement, frustration, and discouragement.” Rigor is a way of making assignments more meaningful and encouraging students to think deeper about what they are learning.
Scaffolding is a common technique that teachers use on a daily basis. These are instructional skills teachers use to help students understand the curriculum better. This can be done by reviewing vocabulary before reading a hard text or starting with an easier assignment and gradually making the assignment more difficult until students can fully understand the concept the teacher is teaching. Scaffolding is a common technique that teachers use on a daily basis.
All teachers should be teaching based on standards. The curriculum is the methods teachers use to teach a skill. RTI is a way to help students learn a skill they may be missing. You need to know about the 3rd-grade retention laws in your state. Learning styles refer to how your child learns. ELA is simply all the reading skills combined into one term. Standardized testing is testing your child will have at the end of each year. Rigor refers to creating meaningful assignments that encourage deeper thinking. Scaffolding is a skill teachers use to help students understand better.
There are about a million educational terms. Trust me I’m a teacher and I don’t know them all. I believe these are the most important educational terms a parent needs to know. Now you will be “in the know” at your next parent-teacher conference.