Comprehension: understanding and the interpretation of what is read, and includes the ability to decode what is read; make connections to prior knowledge, and to think deeply about what is read - Reading Comprehension Strategies
Context Clues: information (such as a definition, synonym, antonym, or example) that appears near a word or phrase and offers direct or indirect suggestions about its meaning
Fluency: ability to read with speed, accuracy, and proper expression
Language: spoken or written human communication; a specific system of spoken or written communication used by a specific country or cultural group
Lexile: a score or range that combines the level of text complexity with the student’s comprehension level; also used to assist students in selecting texts at their independent reading level
Oral Language: use and understanding of spoken language, to include six areas: phonology, grammar, morphology, vocabulary, discourse, and pragmatics
Phonological Awareness: the ability to identify and manipulate the sounds in language including the ability to hear and produce alliteration and rhyme and separate and blend syllables and sound
Phonics: the association of letters with the speech sounds they represent
Analytical Writing: written analysis of a literary text
Argumentative Writing: written expression that requires the writer to investigate a topic: collect, generate, evaluate evidence, and establish a position in a concise manner
Counter Argument/Claim: written expression that opposes the thesis statement
Expository Writing: written expression that requires the writer to investigate an idea, evaluate evidence, expound on the idea, and set forth an argument concerning that idea in a clear and concise manner
Narrative Writing: written expression that tells a story, often includes introduction, plot, characters, setting, climax, and conclusion
Persuasive Writing: written expression that requires one to explore a topic and establish a position on the topic in a concise manner
Prewriting Activities: informal written expression that uses graphic organizers and other tools to help organize writing
Recursive Writing Process: written development that includes planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing
Reflective Writing: written expression in which the writer examines his or her experiences in life, performance in a group, or completed work
Thesis Statement: a short statement, usually one sentence, that summarizes the main point or claim of an essay, research paper, etc., and is developed, supported, and explained in the text by means of examples and evidence
Active Listening: supports engagement, including but not limited to making eye contact, facing the speaker, asking questions, and summarizing
Formal Language: characterized by the use of standard English, more complex sentence structures, infrequent use of personal pronouns, and lack of colloquial or slang terms
Informal Language: casual and spontaneous language used when communicating with friends or family either in writing or in conversation
Media Messages: types of communication including books, newspapers, photographs, songs, and movies, that convey a message to its audience
Nonverbal Communication: using postures, facial expressions, eye gaze, gestures, and tone of voice
Multimodal Texts: picture books, text books, graphic novels, comics, and posters, where meaning is conveyed to the reader through varying combinations of visual (still image) written language, and spatial modes
Standard English: variety of English that has undergone substantial regularization and is associated with formal schooling, language assessment, and official print publications, such as public service announcements and newspapers of record
Verbal communication: using verbal and spoken word
- American Psychological Association (APA) - a social sciences formatting and citation style for in-text and reference list entries for essays and papers
- Modern Language Association (MLA) - a common liberal arts and humanity formatting and citation style for in-text and reference list entries for essays and papers
Claim: a statement, similar to a hypothesis, which is made in response to the research question and that is affirmed with evidence based on research
Data: factual information (as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation
Focus Groups: small, roundtable discussion groups charged with examining specific topics or problems, including possible options or solutions
Hypothesis: a tentative explanation based on theory to predict a causal relationship between variables
Inquiry: an act of seeking information
Internal Validity: the rigor with which the study was conducted: the study's design, the care taken to conduct measurements, and decisions concerning what was and was not measured
Methods: systematic approaches to the conduct of an operation or process. It includes steps, application, reasoning or analysis, and modes of inquiry used by a discipline
Plagiarism: the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own
Primary Sources: a firsthand or eyewitness account of information by an individual close to the topic
Reliability: the degree to which the result of a measurement, calculation, or specification can be depended on to be accurate
Secondary Sources: a source that is more removed from an event, usually written after the event has happened
Accountability systems: the mechanisms used (generally by states) to evaluate the performance of their education systems. In recent years, accountability systems have increasingly used the school as the unit for monitoring and intervention, based largely on the scores of each school’s students on a set of standardized tests.
Accreditation: a process to evaluate the performance of public schools in accordance with Board of Education regulations.
Alternative assessment: used to measure applied proficiency of knowledge and skills. In Virginia, alternative assessments include, but are not limited to, performance assessments. [See performance assessment]
Assessment: any systematic basis for gathering data or information and making inferences about characteristics, proficiencies, or abilities of people, usually based on various sources of evidence; the global process of synthesizing information about individuals in order to understand and describe them better.
Authentic assessment: a performance assessment that includes a context from the real world and/or a context that is authentic to the academic discipline.
Balanced assessment system: the combination of assessments that form a comprehensive measure of student learning. In Virginia, a balanced assessment system should include a variety of assessment types that are matched to the content being assessed and the purpose of the assessment data, including the need to meet accountability measures. A balanced assessment system should allow opportunities to measure student achievement and growth based on content standards, specific learning goals, and the 5 C’s (critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration, communication, and citizenship); the data gathered should provide meaningful information that supports and guides classroom instruction.
Diagnostic assessment: determines student areas of strength and academic need prior to instruction.
Formative assessment: a process or assessment designed to intentionally collect information about the nature or degree of student learning during instruction, providing feedback to teachers and students and allowing for teachers and students to make instructional decisions (adjustments and modifications). Formative assessment is generally referred to as assessment “for” learning.
Higher-order thinking skills: a category of thinking skills that requires students to go beyond recalling facts, understanding content, or replicating rote procedures; make connections; solve problems different from those given in classroom examples; and use content to reach and justify conclusions. Deep and rich use of higher-order thinking skills is often dependent upon lower-order thinking skills.
Integrated performance assessment or interdisciplinary assessment: an assessment that measures student performance on content and/or skills across two or more subject areas.
Inter-rater reliability: the degree of agreement among raters scoring a performance task, product, or assessment.
Intra-rater reliability: the degree of consistency with which a single rater scores a set of students’ work on performance tasks, products, or assessments.
Local alternative assessment (LAA): assessments created, administered, and scored at the local division level in the place of eliminated Standards of Learning tests, as required by legislation.
Lower-order thinking skills: a category of thinking skills characterized by knowledge, understanding, and application of procedural skills.
Performance assessment or performance-based assessment: generally requires students to perform a task or create a product and is scored using a rubric or set of criteria. In completing the task, students apply acquired knowledge and skills. This type of assessment often includes a written component.
Performance task: a learning activity that requires students to perform a task or create a product to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and proficiency. Performance tasks occur during the learning process, provide feedback on learning to students and teachers during instruction, and offer opportunities for students to develop skills that may be applied in performance assessments.
Portfolio assessment: a systematic collection of student work and artifacts that demonstrate growth and/or mastery of content, knowledge, and skills over an identified period of time.
Project-based learning: a teaching method or approach that engages students in sustained, collaborative, real-world investigations. Projects are organized around a driving question, and students participate in a variety of hands-on tasks that seek to meaningfully address this question (Buck Institute). Performance assessment is typically a component of this approach to teaching and learning. [See performance assessment]
Reliability: the consistency or stability of test performance. Tests must be constructed and administered so that measurement error from factors such as ambiguous scoring, unclear questions/directions, bias, cheating, or environmental factors is minimized.
Rubric: a description of the criteria for success and levels of achievement for a task, product, or assessment. Rubrics are used to score various types of alternative assessments based on evidence in student work. When used during instruction, rubrics provide feedback to teachers and students, allowing teachers and students to make adjustments and modifications during the learning process.
Summative assessment: used to evaluate student learning, skill acquisition, and academic achievement at the conclusion of a unit, project, course, semester, program, or school year. Typically, summative assessments are comprehensive and representative of a set of knowledge and skills, and associated with high-stakes decisions (e.g., a grade in a course, promotion to another level, verification of a course credit). Summative assessment is frequently described as assessment "of" learning.
Validity: the degree to which an assessment actually measures the learning it is intended to measure. In order to strengthen and account for the validity (and reliability) of an assessment, assessment designers use a combination of procedures and tools in the development of, the administration of, and the post-administration analysis of assessments.