GLOSSARY OF EDUCATIONAL TERMSWith all the materials being thrown at you, it's sometimes hard to keep the lingo straight. We're happy to provide you with a glossary of educational terms that should help stop the confusion! Also, if all those initials have you wondering, check out this list of Educational Acronyms.
Accounts - In school budgeting and finance, the category of revenue or expenditure within a fund for various functions or activities.
Accrual Basis Accounting - Transactions are recorded when they have been reduced to a legal or contractual right or obligation to receive or pay out cash or other resources.
ADA (Average Daily Attendance) - This is simply: Attendance Days (or hours) divided by instructional Days (or hours).
Ad hoc - Established for a particular purpose without reference to wider or permanent applications, such as "ad hoc" committees or "ad hoc" policy.
Adjusted Tax Capacity - Adjusted gross tax capacity is the amount of tax base that results from dividing the tax capacities of the taxing jurisdiction by the sales ratio (see Tax Capacity).
ALC (state approved Area Learning Center) - Must operate year round (school year starts in June) and serve at-risk students from two or more districts (except for Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth). Students must have a CLP and can generate more than 1.0 ADM when membership exceeds statue minimums. (Refer to LYPS.) Can apply to provide an independent study component.
ALP (state approved Public Alternative Program) - These schools serve at-risk students year round or just during traditional school year. Students must have a CLP and can generate more than 1.0 ADM when membership exceeds statute minimums. (Refer to LYPS.) They can apply to provide an independent study program.
Alternative Assessment - Measures a student's knowledge and mastery by having them exhibit through projects, essays, tasks, etc., rather than relying solely on the more traditional assessment which encourages students to memorize facts.
Alternative Calendar - Any calendar that varies from the traditional calendar. Year-round education is an alternative calendar.
Arbitration - Method of settling employment disputes through recourse to an impartial third party, whose decision may be final (binding) or may be a recommendation (advisory).
At-Risk - Students who meet the statute-defined criteria (M.S. 124D.68).
Audit - Formal examination and verification of financial accounts. May also refer to a program examination and verification of results.
Average Daily Membership (ADM) - The sum for all pupils of the number of days of the school year each pupil is enrolled divided by the number of days the schools are in session.
Barrier-free - Elimination of architectural barriers in educational facilities to allow handicapped persons to easily enter, move about, and use those facilities.
Bid - An offer, usually written, to furnish materials or services for a specified sum of money in accordance with the terms of a contract proposal.
Bill - Form or draft of a proposed law presented to a legislature.
Bond - Written promise, generally under seal, to pay a specified sum of money (face value) at a fixed time in the future (date of maturity) and carrying interest at a fixed rate, usually payable periodically; often used by school districts to raise construction money.
Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) - State agency which provides mediation and arbitration services.
Career Education - Organization of the curriculum (K-12) so that a student will receive appropriate information and opportunity for training about or in the world of work; does not necessarily imply attendance at an occupational or skill center.
Categorical Aid - Educational support funds provided from a higher governmental level and specifically limited to (earmarked for) a given purpose; e.g., special education, transportation, or vocational education.
Child Count - The name applied to the federal reports that generate federal special education dollars. This is a count of all students who have IEPs or IFSPs on December 1 of any given year. It is also referred to as the Unduplicated Child Count.
Class Load - Total number of classes or pupils taught by a teacher.
CLP (Continual Learning Plan) - All students enrolled in an ALC, ALP, or other LYPS need to have a CLP that addresses their educational goals for the year. It must be updated annually.
Collective Bargaining - The process used by a group of employees and their employers to make offers and counter-offers for the purposes of reaching a mutually acceptable agreement and a written contract incorporating that agreement (PELRA).
Comparable Worth - Equitable Compensation Relationships - Minnesota Statute (M.S. 471.991) requiring every political subdivision to establish equitable compensation relationships among its employees. a.k.a. Minnesota Pay Equity Act.
Competency-Based Education - Organized system of teaching and learning to ensure mastery of prescribed skills and behaviors.
Core Year - The number of Instructional Days and Length of Day required by a school or program for students to make regular grade progression. This is used as the ADM divisor for Learning Year programs. Statue requires minimums based on grade level but individual schools and programs can require more.
Developmental Delay - This is a new Primary Disability classification effective FY00. It can be reported for students through age six as of September 1.
Dual Enrolled - Senior high level students who are full-time at the high school and receive ALC instructional services outside the normal high school day and year, i.e., summer and after school. Each reports the instructional time it provides to the student.
Due Process (Procedural) - An orderly, established process for arriving at an impartial and just settlement of a conflict between parties. It entails the elements of notice and fair hearing.
Due Process (Substantive) - Basic legality of legislative enactments such as rules and regulations for students and staff. Must follow basic guidelines of legality, sufficient specificity, reason and sensibleness, adequate dissemination, and appropriate penalties.
EC (Early Childhood) - This is used both as a:
- grade classification of an individual student, i.e., prekindergarten student (from birth to kindergarten) who either has an IEP/IFSP or received assessment for special education, and
- primary disability classification, i.e., general early childhood. However, this is no longer considered a disability, effective FY00. Refer to Developmental Delay.
A Pre-kindergarten student (birth to kindergarten) is classified as Grade EC and may have a primary disability of EC (or something more specific such as deaf).
ECSU (Educational Cooperative Service Unit) - Cooperative regional organizations governed by school board members established for the purpose of providing those services which districts may more efficiently provide on a cooperative basis.
Education District - Formed by school districts to increase educational opportunities for learners (pupils) by increasing cooperation and coordination among school districts and post-secondary institutions. Education District boards must be comprised of board members who are currently serving on local boards.
Elective - Any of a number of non-required studies from which a student is allowed to select.
Employee Benefits - Compensation, in addition to regular salary, provided to an employee. This may include such benefits as health insurance, life insurance, annual leave, sick leave, retirement, and social security.
Exploratory Classes - Classes which allow students to explore areas of interest such as foreign languages, industrial arts, music, visual arts, home economics, etc.
Fiscal Year - A 12-month period between settlements of financial accounts. The school district fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30. For example, fiscal year 1989 is equivalent to the 1988-89 school year (July 1, 1988-June 30, 1989).
Fixed Salary Schedule - An established plan for paying salaries to teachers, supervisors, and administrators according to a definite scale of increases depending on length of service and professional preparation.
Full-Time Equivalence - The amount of employed time required in a part-time position expressed in proportion to that required in a full-time position with "1" representing one full-time position. It may be expressed as a percentage or as a fraction. It is derived by dividing the amount of employed time required in the part-time position by the amount of employed time required in a corresponding full-time position. When expressed as a percentage, it should be to the nearest tenth.
General Education Revenue - Composed of a combination of state aid and local property tax revenues. This is the major funding program for school districts. General Education Revenue is comprised of: basic general education revenue; compensatory revenue; training and experience revenue; sparsity revenue; and supplemental revenue.
Grievance - Complaint by an employee that a provision of the collective bargaining agreement under which he/she is working has been violated.
Grievance Arbitration - Final step in a grievance procedure used to determine whether a violation, misapplication, or misinterpretation of an existing agreement has occurred.
Heterogeneous Grouping - No attempt is made to group students according to ability. Wide ranges of academic ability will be present within the groups.
Homebound Instruction - Individual teaching in a child's home by an itinerant teacher; for education of the handicapped and for students unable to attend school due to illness or other reasons.
Homogeneous Grouping - Grouping students for instruction based on one or more common characteristic. Most commonly, homogeneous grouping is on the basis of supposed ability of students - a "tracking" system is developed.
IEP (Individual Education Program Plan) - Student has been formally identified as having a disability and is receiving special education services.
IFSP (Individual Family services Plan) - An “IEP” for very young children. It involves other agencies as well as education.
Inservice Education - General term used to describe the efforts to promote the professional growth and development of employees while on the job.
Interdisciplinary - Instructional process which combines information from two or more subjects or creates a team situation that allows teachers with different academic disciplines to plan a teacher-learning program.
IS (Independent Study) - ALCs and ALPs can apply to provide an independent study program to senior high students enrolled in their programs. High schools can also apply for independent study for expelled students only. These students generate membership hours based on successful completion of course work; 20 percent or more of the membership earned must be student-teacher contact time.
Job Description - A written statement of the various operations and duties, equipment, methods, working conditions, responsibilities, and other essential factors concerned in a job; usually based on a job analysis of detailed working conditions, promotional status, employee requirements, and training the employee must possess in order to qualify for employment.
LEA (Local Education Agency) - An educational agency at the local level which exists primarily to operate schools or to contract for education services. Normally, taxes may be levied by such publicly operated agencies for school purposes. These agencies may or may not be coterminous with county, city or town boundaries. This term is used synonymously with the terms "school district," "school system," and "local basic administrative unit."
Learning Disabilities - One or more deficiencies exhibited by a child in the essential learning processes of perception, conceptualization, language, memory, attention, impulse control, or motor function.
Lesson Plan - A teaching outline of the important points of a lesson arranged in the order in which they are to be presented; may include objectives, points to be made, questions to ask, references to materials, assignments, and evaluation methods or tools.
Levy - (Verb) To impose taxes or special assessments. (Noun) The total of taxes or special assessments imposed by a governmental unit.
License - Grant by the state to individuals to practice an occupation or profession after successfully meeting regulations, taking an exam, or completing required courses.
LLA (Last Location of Attendance) - LLA is a MARSS code that indicates where a student was last enrolled. Every student record has a LLA.
LYPS (Learning Year Program Site) - State approved programs that agree to operate on a year- round basis. Students must have a CLP and an generate more than 1.0 ADM when they generate membership hours than the greater of (a) the locally defined core school year or (b) the statute- defined minimum number of instructional hours. Statute-defined minimum instructional hours are:
- EC: ineligible
- HK: 875
- Kgn: 425 (with a maximum of 1.2 ADM, FY98)
- Grades 1-6: 936
- Grades 7-12: 1,020
Mainstreaming - Moving handicapped children from their segregated status in special education classes and integrating them with "normal" children in regular classrooms.
MARSS -Minnesota Automated Reporting Student System.
Master Teacher/Mentor - One who possesses considerable skill in teaching; selected to serve as supervising teacher or leader of a team when team teaching occurs.
MDE - Minnesota Department of Education.
Media Center - Previously referred to as the library. The media center is the information hub for the school with books, periodicals, computers and audio-visual resources that aid students, teachers and the community.
Mediation - Informal attempt by a third party to help in the settlement of an employment dispute through advice or other suggestions, but without specific public recommendations for settlement.
Mentor - An adult that serves in an advising, helping, listening or tutoring capacity to another individual.
Merit Rating - Recognized individual differences in instructional ability; strongly resisted by many teachers due to the difficulty of developing an acceptably objective method for evaluating teacher performance; usually tied to salary increases.
MINCRIS (Minnesota Civil Rights database) - This Department database is where much of the MARSS data are summarized by school, gender, race/ethnicity and grade.
Multi-Age Grouping - Grouping students into classes across grade levels; for example, having students from kindergarten and first grade in a class together, not as a traditional combination class, but focusing instead on teaching to their ability and skill level rather than their age.
Multi-Cultural Sensitivity - A culture is the values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors and traditions that are shared by a human group. Sensitivity to different cultures and ways of thinking and doing.
NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) - This is a federal agency to which MDCFL supplies data for uniform comparison of states.
NCSE (Notification of Change in Student Enrollment, ED-02037) - This is a means to exchange State Reporting Number, Status Start Date, State Aid Category, and Basic Standards Test information between districts when students transfer.
Non-Operating Funds - Capital expenditures fund; building construction fund; debt redemption fund; trust and agency fund.
OCR (Office for Civil Rights) - This is a federal agency that requires districts to provide gender and race/ethnic student and staff data. In Minnesota the state provides the data on behalf of the districts based on the MARSS and STAR data and a few supplemental data items.
Open Enrollment (Enrollment Options) - Various legislative-enacted programs that allow students to attend a district other than the district of residence or a post-secondary institution without paying a tuition charge.
Operating Funds - General fund; food service fund; pupil transportation fund; community services fund.
Outcome Based Education - Aligning the curriculum, instruction, and student assessment to objectives or goals for student knowledge, skill, or effect which have been clearly defined; students progress as they master these outcomes rather than by time or age factors.
Paraprofessional - Non-certified individual who assists teachers in non-teaching tasks, such as clerical work. Also called a "teacher aide" or "classroom aide."
Part C - This refers to the children ages birth through two who have IFSPs. It is a reference to a federal law. (It was previously referred to as Part H.)
Part-Time - Any student who is enrolled less than full-time. Full-time is defined by the traditional school’s calendar. Any student who is released from attending the entire day at the high school and is not marked absent, or, for purposes of dual enrollment, has more than 60 minutes in study hall is considered part-time. Part-time students who are also enrolled by an ALC or ALP are reported only by the ALC.
Performance-Based Education - A type of alternative assessment where students demonstrate what they know and are able to do, in contrast to multiple choice, fill-in-the blank and true-false tests.
Policy - Statement adopted by a school board or an administrative agency outlining principals to be followed with respect to specific matters; usually requires rules or regulations to be formulated for its implementation, and is broad enough to provide for administrative decisions regarding the manner in which it shall be implemented, although its implementation in some manner is mandatory.
Private Contract Alternative - These are non-public schools with which a public school district has contracted to provide instructional services to at-risk students. Effective FY99, these programs are state-designated LYPS at the program’s option; students can generate more than 1.0 ADM when membership exceeds statute minimums. (Refer to LYPS).
Public Employees Labor Relations Act (PELRA) - Minnesota statute (Chapter 179A) governing public sector collective bargaining.
Public Law 94-142 - A federal law that ensures access to public educational opportunities to handicapped persons, ages 3-21.
Pull-Out Program - State approved elementary and middle/junior high ALC program. Students are “pulled out” of their normal classroom and instructional services are provided by the ALC. Students are eligible to generate more than 1.0 ADM when they receive more than the statute- defined minimums. (Refer to LYPS.)
Pupil-Teacher Ratio - Average number of pupils per teacher in a system or school.
Pupil Units (A.K.A. Weighted ADM and PU) - This is the figure that determines state aid and levies. The weighting factors are:
Regulations - Detailed directions developed by the administration to put policy into practice. They tell how, by whom, where, and when things are to be done.
Results-Driven Education - An accountability system where all programs and courses, as well as students and employees, would have identified end results and expectations which can be measured against the district/school mission and objectives.
RMIC (Regional Management Information Center) (formerly referred to as ESV Regions) - These centers assist districts in processing student, staff and finance data for local and state reporting purposes.
SAC (State Aid Category) - This is the MARSS code that determines how or why a student is enrolled in this district. Every record has a SAC code.
School Within a School - State approved ALC program by which at-risk elementary and middle/junior high level students receive ALC services during at least 25 percent of their school day. These students are reported by the elementary and middle/junior high school.
SEC (Status End Code) - This is the MARSS code that indicates why a student’s record is being terminated. Every student record has a SEC except on the Fall submissions for students who are still enrolled as of the extract date.
SEES (Special Education Evaluation Status) - This MARSS data element indicates if the student has received assessment services, had an IEP, or the IEP was terminated during the school year.
Shared Time - Nonpublic school students who receive eligible public school instructional services generate shared time foundation aid based on the portion of the school day they are enrolled in the public school.
Site-Based Management - The practice of allowing individual schools the freedom to make decisions in certain areas with the idea that those decisions are best made nearest the point at which they must be implemented.
Software - All non-hardware elements of a computer-based system, including written computer programs, flow charts, and other items related to information systems.
Standardized Test - Evaluation instrument given under similar, controlled circumstances to many individuals.
STAR (Staff Automated Reporting System) - This is the means by which public districts report staff employment and assignment data to the Department.
Strategic Planning - A process used by the school district to concentrate all efforts, activities, resources and energies toward achieving a common purpose (mission, objectives, strategies and action plans are parts of a strategic plan); plans are developed by consensus of school and community participants and have as a basis their commonly held beliefs and values.
Targeted Services (ALC) - State approved elementary and middle/junior high level program for at- risk students during summer term or outside normal school day. ALC must first have a school within a school program for this age level students. Students must have a CLP and receive ALC services year round. Students can generate more than 1.0 ADM when they receive more than the statute-defined minimum number of instructional hours. (Refer to LYPS.)
Targeted Services (Title l) - Federal program to provide additional instructional services to targeted students. No additional general education revenue is provided.
Tax Capacity - Amount of tax base of taxing jurisdiction obtained by multiplying the market values of all property in the taxing jurisdiction by the tax capacity percentages.
Tax Capacity Percentages - Statutory classification percentages that are applied to market values.
Tax Capacity Rate - The rate arrived at by dividing the district's tax levy amount by the district's total tax capacity. Tax capacity rate replaced the term "mill" rate.
Team Teaching - Two or more teachers cooperatively planning, teaching, and evaluating the progress of their students.
Tenure - Guaranteed job security, usually granted to teachers after a specified number of years of satisfactory service; cannot be rescinded except for specified reasons (see M.S. 122A.40).
Tort - Any negligent or willful act of school officers or employees by which pupils or other innocent persons are wrongfully injured or damaged.
Total Quality Education - A state department of education term, taking principles from Deming's total quality management and applying them to education; focuses on students taking more responsibility for their own learning, using teachers as facilitators rather than just lecturers.
UFARS (Uniform Financial Accounting and Reporting Standards) - Rules and instructions adopted by the State Board of Education under legislative mandate to govern the methods by which school districts record financial transactions and inform the State Department of Education about their finances.
Unduplicated Child Count - Refer to Child Count.
Voucher Plan - A plan to distribute educational monies through issuing directly to parents a voucher allocating public funds to pay the cost of their children's education in either a public or a private school of their choice.
WADM (Weighted ADM) - Refer to Pupil Units.
Workers' Compensation - Payments made to an employee by his/her employer for an injury; not necessarily an injury arising out of the duties related to the employment, but occurring during working hours.
Year Round - Year Round can refer to a variety of programs. It can refer to schools who extend the school year over 10 to 12 month period, but the number of instructional Days is no greater than those in a traditional school year. Year Round can also refer to the requirement that state approved Learning Year Programs must provide instruction year round, i.e., during each of the twelve months. Year Round might also refer to students on IEPs who require Extended Year, or Year Round, services.
Youth Service Program - The school board may offer, as part of the district's community education program with a youth development program, a youth service program for pupils to promote active citizenship and to address community needs through youth service. Under State Board rules, youth service opportunities must be made available for all students in public schools. Student participation in youth services is optional.