Glossary of Terms

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N
O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z  

A

Accommodations:   Adaptations or changes in how an assessment is administered or in the mode of response so that student may successfully demonstrate learning.  The intention of accommodations is to remove irrelevant sources of difficulty, to get a fairer more accurate picture of what the student knows.  Eg)  extra test time, verbal instead of written test, large print test, etc.   Accommodations should not change expectations to the curriculum grade levels.

Achievement Contract:  Each year the district goals are outlined in an Achievement Contract. This is the District's commitment to students and their families to improve student achievement and success.

active learning:  Any approach that engages learners by matching instruction to the learner's interests, understanding, and developmental level. Often includes hands-on and authentic activities.

Advocacy Project:  The BCCPAC Advocacy Project is a parent-driven movement to help parents and students be heard in our public education system and solve problems in a positive way.  Advocates appointed under the Advocacy Project are volunteers committed to ensuring that parents and students in their school districts have a voice in decisions that affect them.

AGM:  Annual General Meeting

annual budget:  The budget for a fiscal year which has been adopted or amended by the elected board for a school district.

Applied Academics:  secondary school classes where teachers bring workplace and real-life examples into the classroom to show how theories work.

at-risk student: any child whom adults believe is in danger of dropping out of school before graduation

B

BCCPAC (BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils):  A charitable organization registered under the Society Act of BC and committed to enhancing the parental voice in public education, BCCPAC represents a membership of over 1,000 Parent Advisory Councils and District Parent Advisory Councils from every school district in the province.

BCSSA (British Columbia School Superintendents Association):  Established in 1919, the British Columbia School Superintendents Association is an autonomous, not-for-profit organization of senior school district administrators serving to foster the improvement of education for BC students.

BCSTA (BC School Trustees' Association):  A non-profit, voluntary trustee association that lobbies the provincial government and other organizations to act on issues that will help improve public education in all BC communities.

BCTF (British Columbia Teachers' Federation):  The union of professionals representing 38,000 public school teachers in the province of British Columbia

benchmark: Statement that provides a description of student knowledge expected at specific grades, ages, or developmental levels. Benchmarks often are used in conjunction with standards.

benchmark performances: Performance examples against which other performances may be judged.

Board:  A board of school trustees as constituted under the School Act.  The Board of Trustees for SD61 consists of nine elected members.

C

capital funds:  Money allocated for plans to finance long-term outlays, such as for fixed assets like facilities and equipment.

career programs:  Educational programs focusing on a career or career-related area of study, which combine related courses with a work experience component. Career programs include: Career Preparation; Co-operative Education; Secondary School Apprenticeship; or Career Technical Centre Programs.

catchment:  The geographic area established as the catchment area for a particular school.  

Challenge Program:  A program of choice which offers gifted, creative and talented students an educational program consistent with their abilities aiming to prepare them for postsecondary education and the world at large.

child-centered learning:  A technique or  philosophy of education where the belief is that one should "teach the child, not the subject." Less emphasis is placed on lectures, drills, and rote learning and more attention paid to taking cues from the child - drawing on their interests, needs and natural curiosity.

class composition:  represents the diversity of students in the classroom

class size:  The number of students taking the same course at the same time with the same instructor. Average class size is the total number of students divided by the total number of divisions (classes). Average class size is calculated at the district and provincial levels.

collaborative learning or cooperative learning:  A teaching strategy in which small teams, each with students of different levels of ability, use a variety of learning activities such as solving a problem, completing a project or achieving a common goal to improve their understanding of a subject. Each member of a team is responsible not only for learning what is taught but also for helping teammates learn, thus creating an atmosphere of achievement.

consultation: 

Continuing Education program:  Programs leading to high school completion or upgrading of a current certificate. Typically these programs are offered in the evening.

criterion-referenced assessment: An assessment that measures what a student understands, knows, or can accomplish in relation to specific performance objectives. It is used to identify a student's specific strengths and weaknesses in relation to skills defined as the goals of the instruction, but it does not compare students to other students. (Compare to norm-referenced assessment.)

critical thinking: The thought process that requires more than memorization of facts. It requires that students analyze, use logical thinking, and draw conclusions from facts and evidence.

curriculum (plural curricula):   A plan of instruction that details what students are to know, how they are to learn it, what the teacher's role is, and the context in which learning and teaching will take place. 

D

data-driven decision making: A process of making decisions about curriculum and instruction based on the analysis of classroom data and standardized test data. Data-driven decision making uses data on function, quantity and quality of inputs, and how students learn to suggest educational solutions. It is based on the assumption that scientific methods used to solve complex problems in industry can effectively evaluate educational policy, programs, and methods.

developmentally appropriate:  A developmentally appropriate program or practice is based on knowledge of the stages of child development, and an understanding that each child is unique and that each child's experiences should match his or her development abilities.  Developmentally appropriate practices are designed for the age group being served, taking into consideration the specific needs and differences of each child, including culture and language. Experiences for children should be interesting and mentally challenging as well as active and enjoyable.

distributed learning:  A generic term referring to education programs delivered in a variety of ways to a student primarily at a distance from the teacher and school. These programs are delivered using computer-based, online, telecommunications or paper-based course material and instruction.

District (School District):  A geographic area in BC constituted as a district under the School Act.  Each district is number from 5 to 93.  Our district is School District 61.

DLT (District Leadership Team):  Under the direction of the Superintendent, the District Leadership Team is responsible for providing leadership that enables the District to achieve the mission embodied in the Strategic Plan.  The group consists of various district personnel, as well as 4 principals on a rotating basis.  Proposed policies are normally reviewed at DLT prior to being submitted to Education Policy or Operations Policy and then on to the full Board for a vote.

Dogwood Diploma:  A certificate granted to students who meet secondary school graduation requirements. Also known as the British Columbia Certificate of Graduation.

DPAC (District PAC):  Under the School Act, parent advisory groups within a district may establish a district parents' advisory council.  In SD61, this council is called the Victoria Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (VCPAC).  The primary purpose of a DPAC is to advise the Board on any matter relating to education in the school district.

E

early intervention:  Observing and evaluating children, at an early age, to pinpoint learning problems that can be corrected before the problem become more serious.

Education Policy:

educator:  An educator may be a teacher, vice-principal, principal, or director of instruction having BC teacher certification.

elementary school:  In SD61, all elementary schools will soon consist of Grades K-5.  Focus is on the importance of the early years as the foundation for life-long learning.  The District's K-5 program is founded on 9 common beliefs which guide their decisions.

equal access:  The right of all students to receive the same educational opportunities.

ESL (English as a Second Language):  Classes or support programs for students whose native language is not English.

equity: The state of educational impartiality and fairness in which all children-minorities and non-minorities, males and females, successful students and those who fall behind, students with special needs and students who have been denied access in the past-receive a high-quality education and have equal access to the services they need in order to benefit from that education.

exhibition of mastery: A type of assessment in which students display their grasp of knowledge and skills using methods such as skits, video presentations, posters, oral presentations, or portfolios.

exploratories:  A range of subjects offered at the middle school level which allow students to experiment and expand their horizons.  Outside of the core subject areas, courses include such areas as fine arts (music, drama, dance), applied skills (tech ed, home economics) and information technology (computer skills, data management). 

external credentials:  Students may earn credit for successfully completing an External Course approved by the Ministry. Students who reach high standards of excellence in approved educational activities are entitled to credit towards graduation. The table of new external credentials, including course codes, is included in Course Information.

F

facilitator: A role for classroom teachers that allows students to take a more active role in learning. Teachers assist students in making connections between classroom instruction and students' own knowledge and experiences by encouraging students to create new solutions, by challenging their assumptions, and by asking probing questions.

Family of Schools:  Schools in the District are grouped together into "families", usually comprised of a secondary school (for which the family is named), one or two middle schools and a number of elementary schools.  Schools at a particular level "feed" into the next higher level via pathways.  (see also pathways)

fiscal year:  In relation to a School Board, the period beginning July 1st and ending the following June 30th.

FSA (Foundation Skills Assessment):  An annual province-wide assessment of Grade 4 and Grade 7 British Columbia students' academic skills meant to provide a snapshot of how well BC students are learning foundation skills in Reading Comprehension, Writing, and Numeracy.

FTE (full-time equivalent):   A measure of the total level of staff resources used. The FTE of a full-time staff member is equal to 1.0. The calculation of FTE for part-time staff is based on the proportion of time worked compared with that worked by full-time staff performing similar duties.  Casual staff is usually excluded.  This terminology is also used by the Ministry of Education when determining enrollment in schools for funding purposes.  In this case, kindergarten children who attend only partial days are counted as 0.5 FTE each.  (see also headcount).

G

GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles):  Implementation of full generally accepted accounting principles was mandated for School Districts as of July 1, 2004. The accounting principles are those set out in the not-for-profit model as defined by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA Handbook, sections 4400-4460).

gaming funds: 

graduation:  A certificate of Graduation or "Dogwood Diploma" is awarded upon successful completion of the provincial graduation requirements.

graduation rate: 

graphing calculator: A calculator with a large display that enables the user to see math functions and data graphically.

GVTA (Greater Victoria Teachers' Association): 

H

"hands-on/minds-on" activities: Activities that engage students' physical as well as mental skills to solve problems. Students devise a solution strategy, predict outcomes, activate or perform the strategy, reflect on results, and compare end results with predictions.

headcount:  A count of unique individuals, ie., the number of students in a school as opposed to the full-time equivalents.

heterogeneous grouping: Grouping together students of varying abilities, interests, or ages.

higher-order questions: Questions that require thinking and reflection rather than single-solution responses.

higher-order thinking skills: Understanding complex concepts and applying sometimes conflicting information to solve a problem, which may have more than one correct answer.

holistic learning:   A term for classroom learning organized around integrated, lifelike problems and projects rather than around standard subject-matter disciplines. Educators hope to make learning 'relevant' to life."

holistic scoring: Using a scoring guide or anchor papers to assign a single overall score to a performance. (See scoring guide.)

Home Learners' Link:  A programme designed to provide support to home learning families.  Located at View Royal Elementary, students can make use of classroom and other facilities such as the resource room, gym, multi-purpose room, science room, and library.

I

IEP (Individual Education Plan): A written plan created for a student with special needs by his or her teacher(s), parents or guardians, the school administrator, and other interested parties. The plan is tailored to the student's specific needs and abilities and outlines goals for the student to reach. The IEP should be reviewed at least once a year.

immersion education  A program that teaches children to speak, read, and write in a second language by surrounding them with conversation and instruction in that language.

inclusion: The value system which holds that all students are entitled to equitable access to learning, achievement and the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of their education. The practice of inclusion transcends the idea of physical location and incorporates basic values that promote participation, friendship and interaction.

individual differences:  Learners have different strategies, approaches, and capabilities for learning that are a function of prior experience and heredity.  The phrase reflects the desire to combine mass schooling with respect for diversity and individuality.

individualized instruction:  A method of instruction in which content, instructional materials, instructional media, and pace of learning are based upon the abilities and interests of each individual learner.

Individual learning styles:  Common sense and experience demonstrates that not all students learn the same way. Some kids are verbal learners, others are visual. different ways that a person can learn. Most people favor some particular method of interacting with, taking in, and processing stimuli or information

informal knowledge: Knowledge about a topic that children learn through experience outside of the classroom.

inquiry: A process in which students investigate a problem, devise and work through a plan to solve the problem, and propose a solution to the problem.

in-service training: Classes for teachers that help a school staff reach specific goals (see also Pro-D).

IRP (Integrated Resource Package):

J

K

L

LD (Learning Disability):  Refers to a number of disorders that may affect the acquisition, organization, retention, understanding or use of verbal or nonverbal information. These disorders affect learning in individuals who otherwise demonstrate at least average abilities essential for thinking and/or reasoning. As such, learning disabilities are distinct from global intellectual disabilities.   

learner-centered classroom: Classroom in which students are encouraged to choose their own learning goals and projects. This approach is based on the belief that students have a natural inclination to learn, learn better when they work on real or authentic tasks, benefit from interacting with diverse groups of people, and learn best when teachers understand and value the difference in how each student learns.

learning environment:  The physical setting and psychological climate in which learning takes place.

learning outcomes:  The standards of achievement for a course, or subject and grade, are set out as learning outcomes in the provincial curriculum guide for that course or subject.

Learning Roundtable:  a forum for education partners to discuss critical issues related to learning conditions in the public school system.

literacy:  The ability to read and write.  In modern context, the word means reading and writing in a level adequate for written communication and generally a level that enables one to successfully function at certain levels of a society.

locally-developed course:  Alocal program/course that is part of an educational program offered by a particular board. It is not determined by the minister. The board must approve of the local program and send a copy of the program and the board's approval to the minister for information and record keeping purposes.

low incidence:  (see also high incidence)  Children and young persons (comprising approx. 0.5% to 1.0% of the population aged between 0-19 years) with pronounced, specific or complex special educational needs which are such as require continuing review.   The degree of inter-agency co-operation, planning and support required to meet their needs is greater than that usually required to meet the special educational needs of children and young persons. In addition, they require a high level of educational support in one or more of the following areas:  the physical environment; the curriculum; the degree of adult support and supervision required; the level of specialist resources including information and communications technology required.  Their incidence in any one authority is small.

M

manipulative: Any physical object (e.g., blocks, toothpicks, coins) that can be used to represent or model a problem situation or develop a mathematical concept.

Math Makes Sense: 

matrix sampling: An assessment method in which no student completes the entire assessment but each completes a portion of the assessment. Portions are allotted to different, representative samples of students. Group (rather than individual) scores are obtained for an analysis of school or district performance.

middle school:   In SD61, any school consisting of students in Grades 6-8.  At this level there is an emphasis on grade transition, student leadership, and co-curricular opportunities.  Essential attributes of middle schools include interdisciplinary team organization (students are grouped in teams with a teacher advisor); block/flexible scheduling; an advisory program; and an exploratory program.

modeling: Demonstrating to the learner how to do a task, with the expectation that the learner can copy the model. Modeling often involves thinking aloud or talking about how to work through a task.

MOE (Ministry of Education):

multiple intelligences:  This is psychologist and author Howard Gardner's substitute for IQ. His theory suggests that there are seven domains of ability under which every student can learn: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal. Hirsch says that Gardner's claims are not supported by mainstream research in psychology. Since these classifications are highly subjective, it is difficult to see how teachers could easily identify and teach to these "intelligences." Nevertheless, the theory has gained popularity among educators because it comfortabley coincides with already existing theories of "individual differences" and "individual learning styles." A distinguished psychologist, George A. Miller, claims that Gardner's specific classifications are "almost certainly wrong."

multiple learning styles:  See "Individual differences," "Individual learning styles," and "Multiple intelligences."   

N

norm-referenced assessment: An assessment designed to discover how an individual student's performance or test result compares to that of an appropriate peer group (compare to criterion-referenced assessment).

numeracy:  A term that emerged in theUnited Kingdom and is now in use in Canada.  Best described as "numerical literacy" or skill with numbers and mathematics.  Also called "number sense".  The concept of using numbers in everyday life is supported by the Numeracy Network in SD61.

O

off-shore school: 

one-time funding: 

open-ended question: A question that has many avenues of access and allows students to respond in a variety of ways. Such questions have more than one correct answer.

open-ended task: A performance task in which students are required to generate a solution or response to a problem when there is no single correct answer.

open-response task: A performance task in which students are required to generate an answer rather than select an answer from among several possible answers, but there is a single correct response.

operating funds:  Money allocated for expenses arising in the normal course of running a business.  Examples include electricity costs, paper supplies and salaries.

ORCA (Oral Reading and Comprehension Assessment):  A assessment tool administered a minimum of two times per year in SD61 elementary schools to determine a student's reading comprehension ability.

outcome-based education: An integrated system of educational programs that aligns specific student outcomes, instructional methods, and assessment.

P

PAC (Parent Advisory Council):  Established under the School Act, parents at anyschool may form a parent advisory council.  The main purpose of a PAC is to advise the Board and the principal/staff of a school regarding any matters relating to the school, other than those assigned to the school planning council.  The parent advisory council may assist the school planning council in carrying out its function when requested.

 pathway:  The designated route or path a student would normally follow while progressing from elementary to middle to secondary school.  

per-pupil funding: 

performance-based assessment: Systematic and direct observation of a student performance or examples of student performances and ranking according to pre-established performance criteria. Students are assessed on the result as well as the process engaged in a complex task or creation of a product.

performance criteria: A description of the characteristics to be assessed for a given task. Performance criteria may be general, specific, analytical trait, or holistic. They may be expressed as a scoring rubric or scoring guide. (See rubrics and scoring guide.)

Performance Standards    The BC Performance Standards have been developed for voluntary use in BC schools. They describe the professional judgments of a significant number of BC educators about standards and expectations in key areas of learning -- reading (English and French Immersion); writing (English, French Immersion and Francophone); numeracy; social responsibility; information and communications technology integration (ICTI). They are intended as a resource to support ongoing instruction and assessment. 

performance task: An assessment exercise that is goal directed. The exercise is developed to elicit students' application of a wide range of skills and knowledge to solve a complex problem.

personal planning:  Provincially prescribed curriculum which focuses on the social and emotional development of the student.  Personal Planning K to 7 is designed to help students maintain, reinforce, and develop skills, attitudes, and behaviours that can enhance their personal well-being throughout their lives and prepare them to deal with a world of complex, ongoing change.  Examples include time management, self-assessment, goal setting, and seeking support. These skills apply to their work in other subject areas and to the activities they will undertake following graduation.

policy:

portfolio assessment: An assessment process that is based on the collection of student work (such as written assignments, drafts, artwork, and presentations) that represents competencies, exemplary work, or the student's developmental progress.

prep time: A period set aside for teachers to plan curriculum, meet with parents, and evaluate student progress.

Pro-D (professional development):  Days set aside in the school calendar for teacher training, sometimes on school days (see also in-service training).

problem solving: A method of learning in which students evaluate their thinking and progress while solving problems. The process includes strategy discussion--determining solution strategies to similar problems and pinpointing additional problems within the context of their investigation.

Programs of Choice:

Provincial Examinations  Tests that measure student performance in selected Grade 10, 11, and 12 academic courses. Provincial examinations are currently held in November, January, April, June, and August.

Q

R

Reading Recovery:   An individualized reading-skills program for students who are having difficulty learning to read. Teachers are trained in a year-long course that emphasizes a whole-language approach (reading within context rather than phonics) and integrates reading, writing, and listening techniques. Students who don't improve are eligible to receive 30 minutes of one-on-one instruction daily for up to 20 weeks.

reconfiguration:  The process of changing the structure of the K-12 system.  In SD61 this means moving from the previous K-7, 8-12 or 8-10 and 11-12 groupings of grades to the new format of K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 configured schools.

reliability: An indicator of score consistency over time or across multiple evaluators. Reliable assessment is one in which the same answers receive the same score regardless of who performs the scoring or how or where the scoring takes place. The same person is likely to get approximately the same score across multiple test administrations.

resource room:  A room in which students needing help with their work may go during regular class time. The resource room teacher may have special education and/or bilingual credentials. The teacher may provide one-on-one instruction or teach a subject to the students as a group. In these cases, the resource teacher grades the students' work.

resource specialists:  Specially credentialed teachers who work with special education students by assisting them in regular classes or pulling them out of class for extra help.

rote learning:  A learning technique which avoids grasping the inner complexities and inferences of the subject that is being learned and instead focuses on memorizing the material so that it can be recalled by the learner exactly the way it was read or heard.

The major practice involved in rote learning techniques is "learning by repetition", based on the idea that one will understand the meaning of the material the more they repeat it.

S

Satisfaction Survey:

School Act:

school-based team:  A team of school-based personnel who function as a problem-solving group to assist classroom teachers in developing and implementing instructional and management strategies. As well the team may coordinate support resources for students with special needs within the school

school-wide write: 

School Choices:  with open school boundaries, students can attend any school in the province, provided there is space. Choices available for students include community, traditional or alternative schools, aboriginal education programs, French immersion, special needs, full-day Kindergarten, pre-school, distance electronic learning, fine arts, dance, sports or trades.

SEA (Special Education Assistant): 

secondary school:  In SD61, all secondary schools will soon consist of Grades 9-12.  The District considers connection, instructional practices, organization and accountability as the essential pillars for an exemplary secondary school.

social responsibility:

Special education: Special instruction for students with educational or physical disabilities, tailored to each student's needs and learning style.

special needs: According to the B.C. Special Needs Students Order (M150/89), students with special needs are those who have "disabilities of an intellectual, physical, sensory, emotional or behavioural nature, have a learning disability or have exceptional gifts or talents."

standards: Statements of what students should know and be able to demonstrate. Various standards are developed by the Ministry of Education, school districts and at the school level.

stakeholder:  Any party that has an interest in an organization. Stakeholders of SD61 would be educators, district staff, trustees, students, parents, etc.

student-centered education:  The same concept as "child-centered education" except the name is changed to reflect middle- and high-school-aged students. The focus is on the student rather than "mere facts."

student-led conference:  An alternative to parent-teacher interviews, student-led conferences, provide an effective way to include the student. Students guide parents through a collection of their work. Through this conversation the parent learns what the child has learned or needs help with. Teachers are expected to meet with parents either during or after the student-led conference so that each adult perspective is heard.

success rate:  The percentage of all students who obtain a passing grade (A, B, C+, C, or C-) on a provincial examination.

Superintendent:  A board must appoint a Superintendent of Schools for the school district who is responsible for general supervision of all education staff employed by the board, overseeing all educational programs and operation of schools.

T

TA (Teaching Assistant): 

targeted funding: 

teaching for understanding:  A teaching method that focuses on the process of understanding as the goal of learning rather than simply the development of specific skills. It focuses on forming connections and seeing relationships among facts, procedures, concepts, and principles, and between prior and new knowledge.

team teaching: A teaching method in which two or more teachers teach the same subjects or theme. For example, one teacher may be responsible for teaching number skills while another teacher focuses on geometry. The teachers may alternate teaching the entire group or divide the group into sections or classes that rotate between the teachers.  Can be teachers at the same grade level or across grades.

technology:  In education, a branch of knowledge based on the development and implementation of computers, software, and other technical tools, and the assessment and evaluation of students' educational outcomes resulting from their use of technology tools.

thematic units:  A unit of study that has lessons focused on a specific theme, sometimes covering all core subject areas. For example, the theme of inequality may be explored by studying the caste system in India and slavery in the American South. It is often used as an alternative approach to teaching history or social studies.

TOC (Teacher-on-Call):

Transfer Process:  Replacing the former "cross-boundary transfer", the K-12 Transfer Process is the procedure to be followed when a student wishes to move from one Family of Schools to another; when a student wishes to move from one school to another at the same level; or when a new student entering the SD 61 schools system wishes to begin at a school other than the designated catchment school.

transition: The passage of students from one environment to another at key points in their development from childhood to adulthood, for example: into Kindergarten or from elementary school to middle school to secondary school.  In SD61, the transition process is guided by a "transition team" and is marked by a number of activities to help ensure that students and parent bridge to the next level successfully.

trustee:  An elected member of the School Board who has voting privileges.

U

V

VCPAC (Victoria Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils):  The district PAC (DPAC) for schools within School District 61.

W

whole-language instruction:  An approach to the teaching of reading that emphasizes the joy of good literature and avoids drill-like instruction in letter sounds. In theory, the method is supposed to motivate children by emphasizing an interest and pleasure in books, and by encouraging students to learn reading holistically, just as they learned their mother tongue--as a 'psycholinguistic guessing game.

X

Y

Z