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Article of Interest - Education

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Bridges4Kids LogoA Translation Guide to Education Jargon
by Claudette Riley And Diane Long, The Tennessean, October 26, 2003
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Here's a sentence somebody might say these days in a school near you:

"Now that we have to disaggregate scores on a CRT, I don't see how Title I kids are going to make AYP."

If you understood that, face it: You're a hopeless education nerd. But parents and other people interested in schools need to recognize some of the jargon common in a discussion about the No Child Left Behind education law. Here's a translation guide:


That's shorthand for No Child Left Behind, the federal law that requires 100% of students to be proficient in reading and math by 2013-14. Add a few vowels and you can hear why the real insiders call it "nickel-be."


Adequate yearly progress. NCLB requires schools to reach a series of test-score benchmarks along the nine-year path to 100% proficiency. Miss the mark and the school doesn't make AYP.


Every state must set a standard for the reading and math performance of its students. Students who meet or exceed that standard are considered proficient, which helps the school meet AYP.


Schools can no longer report a single average test score for the entire school. Under NCLB, the scores must be disaggregated, or separated, for eight subgroups to show whether each made AYP.

Title I

The biggest chunk of NCLB is Title I, the section concerning students from low-income families. Other titles in the law deal with immigrant students, parental choice, technology and highly qualified teachers.

Highly qualified

Under NCLB, teachers must meet new requirements to teach in a public school after 2005-06. If they do, they're considered highly qualified. There's a companion set of expectations for teacher aides.


Norm-referenced test. Under its old plan, Tennessee used an NRT to show how well the state's students performed when compared with their peers across the country.


Criterion-referenced test. NCLB requires a CRT to show whether an individual student is considered proficient when measured against the state's academic standards in each subject.


States are allowed to give some students extra help on the CRT. Such accommodations include more time to take the test or a simplified-language version for special education students or students who are learning English.

Safe harbor

Schools that don't reach some of the NCLB benchmarks can still make AYP if they make enough progress in improving test scores.


Exemplary Educators are Tennessee's front-line offense for schools struggling under the rules of NCLB. The veteran teachers are trained and assigned to schools that need help.


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