Federal Programs Glossary


Glossary of Terms

Academic Performance Index (API) - A numeric score that measures school site and district performance based on a variety of educational indicators. The API score range is 0 - 1500.

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.

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) - The minimum level of improvement that states, school districts, and school sites must achieve each year. The performance indicators used to determine AYP include state mathematics test results, state reading/language arts test results, student participation in state testing programs, student attendance (elementary and middle/junior high schools), and graduation rate (high schools and K-12 districts).

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. Schools must administer tests in each of three grade spans: 3rd - 5th, 6th - 9th, and 10th - 12th. Tests must be administered every year in grades 3 through 8 in reading and mathematics.

Baseline or Starting Point - Each state used data from the 2001-2002 school year to establish a starting point for measuring the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the state's proficient level of academic achievement on the state assessments.

Core Academic Subjects - English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history and geography.

Corrective Action - When a school or school district does not make adequate 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 continued 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, 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.

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 and results.

Full Academic Year - Continuous enrollment for two full units of instruction, not to exceed a calendar year. Continuous enrollment is interrupted only by suspension or other school action of longer than ten consecutive days, or withdrawal from school.

HOUSSE - High Objective Uniform State Standard of Evaluation, as it relates to the requirements of a highly qualified teacher.

Local Educational Agency (LEA) - 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 (NAEP) - 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, US history, geography, civics and the arts.

Oklahoma School Testing Program (OSTP) - Includes all regular special education alternate statewide assessments, grade 3 through high school, evaluating student progress on PASS.

Paraprofessional - An individual with instructional duties who is not acting in the role of teacher. Individuals who work solely in non-instructional roles, such as food service, cafeteria or playground supervision, personal care services and noninstructional computer assistance are not considered to be paraprofessional.

Performance Level - The Oklahoma School Testing Program (OSTP) reports student achievement on the state assessments in four performance levels: advanced, satisfactory, limited knowledge and unsatisfactory.

Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) - The state academic content standards identified at each grade level and for each content area.

Proficiency - The ability to perform at grade level.

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 is given to low-income students.

Safe Harbor - The safe harbor provision: if in any particular year, a student subgroup does not meet or exceed the annual performance target in mathematics and/or reading, the school/LEA will be considered to have made AYP, if:
• The percentage of tested students in that subgroup below the satisfactory performance level decreases by 10 percent; and
• The students in the subgroup meet or exceed the state standard or make progress on one or more of the academic indicators.

School Improvement Plan - Each LEA shall, not later than three (3) months after being identified as needs improvement, develop or revise a LEA plan, in consultation with parents, school staff, and others. Such plan shall:

1. incorporate strategies based on scientifically-based research that will strengthen the core academic subjects in the school and address the specific academic issues that caused the school to be identified for school improvement;
2. adopt policies and practices concerning the school's core academic subjects that have the greatest likelihood of ensuring all groups of students enrolled in the school will meet the state's proficient level of achievement on the state academic assessments; and
3. provide an assurance the school will spend not less than ten (10) percent of the funds made available to the school for each fiscal year the school is in school improvement status, for the purpose of providing to the school's teachers and principal high-quality professional development that:

a. directly addresses the academic achievement problem that caused the school to be identified for school improvement;
b. meets the requirements for professional development activities; and
c. is provided in a manner that affords increased opportunity for participating in that professional development.

4. specify how the funds described in number three (3) will be used to remove the school from school improvement status;
5.establish specific annual, measurable objectives for continuous and substantial progress by each group of students enrolled in the school that will ensure all such groups of students will, in accordance with adequate yearly progress, meet the state's proficient level of achievement on state academic assessments;
6. describe how the school will provide written notice about the identification to parents of each student enrolled in school, in a format and, to the extent practicable, in a language that the parents can understand;
7. specify the responsibilities of the school, the LEA, and the SEA serving the school under the plan, including the technical assistance to be provided by the LEA;
8. include strategies to promote effective parental involvement in the school;
9. incorporate as appropriate, activities before and after school, during the summer, and during any extension of the school year; and
10. incorporate a teacher mentoring program.

Schoolwide Title I School - Schoolwide programs use Title I money to support comprehensive school improvement efforts and help all students, particularly low-achieving and at-risk students, meet state standards at particular schools. To qualify as a Title I schoolwide program, at least 40 percent of a school's students must be considered low-income. Schoolwide programs have more flexibility than targeted assistance programs when using Title I funds.

Scientifically-Based Research - Research that involves the application of rigorous, systematic and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant to educational activities and programs; and includes research that -

a. Employs systematic, empirical methods that draw on observation or equipment;
b. Involves rigorous data analyses that are adequate to test the stated hypotheses and justify the general conclusions drawn;
c. Relies on measurements of observational methods that provide reliable and valid data across evaluators and observers, across multiple measurements and observations, and across studies by the same or different investigators;
d. Is evaluated using experimental or quasi-experimental designs in which individuals, entities, programs, or activities are assigned to different conditions and with appropriate controls to evaluate the effects of the conditions of interest, with a preference for random-assignment experiments, or other designs to the extent that those designs contain with condition or across-condition controls;
e. Ensures that experimental studies are presented in sufficient detail and clarity to allow for replication or, at a minimum, offer the opportunity to build systematically on their findings;
f. Has been accepted by a peer-reviewed journal or approved by a panel of independent experts through a comparably rigorous, objective, and scientific review.

State Educational Agency (SEA) - 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.

Targeted Assistance Title I School - Targeted assistance programs operate at schools not eligible for, or those choosing not to run, a schoolwide Title I program. Using Title I money, they provide services only to eligible children identified as having the greatest educational need.

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, and partnerships with local universities.

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.

Transferability - Allows states and LEAs to transfer a portion of the funds they receive under certain Federal programs to other Federal programs that most effectively address their unique needs.

Last updated on October 5, 2016