The U.S. Department of Education has compiled a glossary of key terms from the No Child Left Behind Act.
(Source: U.S. Department of Education)
Accountability System - Each state sets academic standards for what every child should know and learn. Student academic achievement is measured for every child, every year. The results of these annual tests are reported to the public.
Achievement Gap - The difference between how well low-income and minority children perform on standardized tests as compared with their peers. For many years, low-income and minority children have been falling behind their white peers in terms of academic achievement.
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) - An individual state's measure of yearly progress toward achieving state academic standards. "Adequate Yearly Progress" is the minimum level of improvement that states, school districts and schools must achieve each year.
Alternative Certification - Most teachers are required to have both a college degree in education and a state certification before they can enter the classroom. No Child Left Behind encourages states to offer other methods of qualification that allow talented individuals to teach subjects they know.
Assessment - Another word for "test." Under No Child Left Behind, tests are aligned with academic standards. Beginning in the 2002-03 school year, schools must administer tests in each of three grade spans: grades 3-5, grades 6-9, and grades 10-12 in all schools. Beginning in the 2005-06 school year, tests must be administered every year in grades 3 through 8 in math and reading. Beginning in the 2007-08 school year, science achievement must also be tested.
Charter School - Charter schools are independent public schools designed and operated by educators, parents, community leaders, educational entrepreneurs, and others. They are sponsored by designated local or state educational organizations, who monitor their quality and effectiveness but allow them to operate outside of the traditional system of public schools.
Comprehension - The ability to understand and gain meaning from what has been read.
Corrective Action - When a school or school district does not make yearly progress, the state will place it under a "Corrective Action Plan." The plan will include resources to improve teaching, administration, or curriculum. If a school continues to be identified as in need of improvement, then the state has increased authority to make any necessary, additional changes to ensure improvement.
Disaggregated Data - "Disaggregate" means to separate a whole into its parts. In education, this term means that test results are sorted into groups of students who are economically disadvantaged, from racial and ethnic minority groups, have disabilities, or have limited English fluency. This practice allows parents and teachers to see more than just the average score for their child's school. Instead, parents and teachers can see how each student group is performing.
Distinguished Schools - Awards granted to schools when they make major gains in achievement.
Early Reading First - A nationwide effort to provide funds to school districts and other public or private organizations that serve children from low-income families. The Department of Education will make competitive 6-year grants to local education agencies to support early language, literacy, and pre-reading development of preschool-age children, particularly those from low-income families.
Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) - ESEA, which was first enacted in 1965, is the principal federal law affecting K-12 education. The No Child Left Behind Act is the most recent reauthorization of the ESEA.
Flexibility - Refers to a new way of funding public education. The No Child Left Behind Act gives states and school districts unprecedented authority in the use of federal education dollars in exchange for strong accountability for results.
Fluency - The capacity to read text accurately and quickly.
Local Education Agency - (LEA) is a public board of education or other public authority within a State which maintains administrative control of public elementary or secondary schools in a city, county, township, school district, or other political subdivision of a state.
National Assessment of Educational Progress - An independent benchmark, NAEP is the only nationally representative and continuing assessment of what American students know and can do in various subject areas. Since 1969, The National Center for Education Statistics has conducted NAEP assessments in reading, mathematics, science, writing, U.S. history, geography, civics, and the arts.
Phonemic Awareness - The ability to hear and identify individual sounds—or phonemes—in spoken words.
Phonics - The relationship between the letters of written language and the sounds of spoken language.
Public School Choice - Students in schools identified as in need of improvement will have the option to transfer to better public schools in their districts. The school districts will be required to provide transportation to the students. Priority will be given to low-income students.
Reading First - A bold new national initiative aimed at helping every child in every state become a successful reader.
State Educational Agency - (SEA) is the agency primarily responsible for the State supervision of public elementary and secondary schools.
Supplemental Services - Students from low-income families who are attending schools that have been identified as in need of improvement for two years will be eligible to receive outside tutoring or academic assistance. Parents can choose the appropriate services for their child from a list of approved providers. The school district will purchase the services.
Teacher Quality - To ensure that every classroom has a highly qualified teacher, states and districts around the country are using innovative programs to address immediate and long-term needs, including alternative recruitment strategies, new approaches to professional development, financial incentive programs, partnerships with local universities, and much more.
Title I - The first section of the ESEA, Title I refers to programs aimed at America's most disadvantaged students. Title I Part A provides assistance to improve the teaching and learning of children in high-poverty schools to enable those children to meet challenging State academic content and performance standards. Title I reaches about 12.5 million students enrolled in both public and private schools.
Transferability - A new ESEA flexibility authority that allows states and local educational agencies (LEAs) to transfer a portion of the funds that they receive under certain Federal programs to other programs that most effectively address their unique needs to certain activities under Title I.
Unsafe School Choice Option - Students who attend persistently dangerous public schools or have been victims of violent crime at school are allowed to transfer to a safer public school.
Vocabulary - The words students must know to read effectively.