Ombudsman's Office
Education Lingo

In education, as in most specialized professions, there are terms and acronyms that may be unfamiliar to the public. It's not surprising that parents and others new to public schools often feel confused. This list of the more commonly used acronyms or abbreviations and their meanings has been developed to assist everyone connected with public schools communicate more effectively.

ACT: American College Test. An assessment taken by students as a precursor to college/university admission.

ADM: Average Daily Membership. The number of days a student is in membership at a school divided by the number of days in a school month or school year.

AP: Advanced Placement. A program that enables high school students to complete college-level courses for college placement and/or credit.

BOG3: Beginning of Grade 3. Test taken in English language arts/reading by third grade students starting on the 11th day of the school year and continuing through the 15th day.

CECAS: Comprehensive Exceptional Children Accountability System. A secure web-based student information system for exceptional children that supports online case management, compliance monitoring, data analysis, and federal and state reporting requirements.

CTE: Career and Technical Education. CTE provides high school students the opportunity to take courses in eight program areas so that they can explore interests and careers while building and strengthening their career-specific knowledge and skills.

DIBELS: Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills. A measurement tool of elementary student progress used by CMS.

DOE: Department of Education, a federal agency that oversees education in the U.S.

DPI: Department of Public Instruction, a state agency that oversees education in the state of North Carolina.

EC: Exceptional Children, a designation used for students with developmental, learning or other disabilities.

ECATS: Exceptional Children Accountability Tracking System. A secure web-based student information system for exceptional children that supports online case management, compliance monitoring, data analysis, and federal and state reporting requirements.

EL: An individual whose native language is a language other than English or who comes from an environment where a language other than English has had a significant impact on the individual's level of English language proficiency.

ELA: English Language Arts. Part of the Common Core curriculum in the NC Standard Course of Study, ELA refers to reading, literature, reading, writing, and speaking and listening.

EOC: End-of-Course tests. These are state tests given each year in 10 subjects to determine if students have mastered the material in each course. Given in high schools and to some middle school students studying at advanced levels.

EOG: End-of-Grade tests. These are given to students in grades three through eight to determine if the students have mastered the required knowledge for each grade.

ESEA: Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This is the principal federal law affecting K-12 education with its longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students. The ESEA of 1965 was later amended and reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001. In December of 2015, the ESEA was again amended and reauthorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

ESL: English as a Second Language, a teaching program used for students whose native language is not English. Also used to describe students in the program.

ESSA: Every Student Succeeds Act. This is the name of the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. See ESEA above. The ESSA was signed into law in 2015 and requires each state to create a plan to meet the components of the law.

EVAAS: Education Value Added Assessment System. EVAAS tools provide a precise measurement of student progress over time and a reliable diagnosis of opportunities for growth that help to identify which students are at risk for under-achievement.

FRL: Free and Reduced-price Lunch. Children qualify, based upon family financial status, to receive either free or reduced-price lunch through a federal program.

GPA: Grade point average.

IB: The International Baccalaureate Program, the most challenging curriculum offered in the United States. IB students are required to take college-level English, math and world-language courses before completing the program.

IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This federal law, reauthorized in 2004, is designed to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free and appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living.

IEP: Individualized Education Program. An IEP is a written statement for a student with a disability. The IEP is developed collaboratively by a team of professionals knowledgeable about the student and the parents. It is designed to help the student take part and progress in the general curriculum. The IEP outlines the special education supports and services for the student.

IHE: Institute of Higher Education. A college or university offering education beyond grade 12.

IIS: Instructional Improvement System. The IIS provides portals for students, teachers, parents, and school and district administrators to access data and resources to inform decisions about instruction, assessment and students' career and college goals.

LEA: Local Education Agency. Synonymous with a local school system or a local school district, indicating that a public board of education or other public authority maintains administrative control of the public schools in a city or county.

LEP: Limited English Proficiency, used to describe students who have not yet fully mastered the English language.

LMS: Learning Management System. A software application that is used to administer, document, track, report and deliver educational courses or training programs.

LOR: Learner Object Repository. A storage site for digital content or digital library. An LOR lets educators share, manage and use educational resources.

MCR: Math Course Rigor. MCR is the percentage of students who take and pass the NC Math 3 course prior to graduation. It is a part of the state's school accountability model.

MTSS: Multi-Tiered System of Support. A multi-tiered framework which promotes school improvement through engaging, research-based academic and behavioral practices. NC MTSS employs a systems approach using data-driven problem-solving to maximize growth for all.

NAEP: National Assessment of Educational Progress. This program measures student learning in all 50 states, and in more than two dozen cities around the country, including Charlotte. It's often called the nation's report card, because all students are given the same tests – making comparisons among states and cities possible. NAEP is given to a sample of students in each district and city.

NCEES: The North Carolina Educator Evaluation System. A system used to evaluate the performance of all teachers, principals, assistant principals, instructional central office administrators and superintendents to promote effective leadership, quality teaching and student learning while enhancing professional practice that leads to improved instruction.

NCEXTEND1: The North Carolina EXTEND1 is an alternate assessment designed to measure the performance of students with significant cognitive disabilities using alternate achievement standards.

NCFEs: The North Carolina Final Exams. NCFEs are considered standardized artifacts reflective of student growth for participants in the teacher-evaluation process.

NCSCOS: North Carolina Standard Course of Study. This is the state-mandated curriculum that every student in the state must be taught.

NCWISE: North Carolina Window of Information into Student Education. This computer program is used by schools across the state to track student progress, attendance and other information.

OER: Open Educational Resources. Teaching, learning and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.

OLE: Online Learning Exchange. The exchange resides, as the title suggests, online to connect teachers to libraries of subject-specific media assets, editable content, and user-generated materials.

PBIS: Positive Behavior Intervention and Support. Positive Behavior Intervention and Support programs are a way to impact school learning environments by establishing and reinforcing clear behavioral expectations to support high student performance and to reduce behavioral problems. PBIS site schools work to integrate their Safe Schools Plans, character education efforts and strategies, and discipline efforts to make the schools caring and safe communities for learning.

PD: Professional development. The term refers to skills and knowledge attained for both personal development and career advancement such as continuous courses, workshops, activities and learning objectives aimed at helping professional educators and staff members improve their skills in their fields.

PEP: Personalized Education Plan. An individualized educational plan designed to improve a student's performance to grade-level proficiency.

PLC: Professional Learning Communities. PLCs are defined by collaborative inquiry, shared decision-making and joint planning of instruction among teachers. Teachers are provided structured time to work together in planning instruction, observing each other's classrooms, and sharing feedback.

PSAT: Pre-Scholastic Assessment Test. Normally taken by high school juniors as a practice test for the SAT. Some schools use the PSAT as a diagnostic tool to identify areas where students may need additional assistance or placement in more rigorous courses.

PTA/PTO: Parent-Teacher Association/Parent Teacher Organization. These are parent groups that organize at each school to help parents stay involved in children's education.

READY: The READY initiative, which began in the 2012-2013 school year, focuses not only on student proficiency in foundational subjects but on ensuring students are career and college ready when they graduate from high school. The initiative is characterized by a new Standard Course of Study, assessments and accountability model.

RtA: Read to Achieve. NC state law requires district to ensure every student reads at or above grade level by the end of third grade and progresses in reading proficiency so that he or she can read, comprehend, integrate, and apply complex texts needed for secondary education and career success.

RttT: Race to the Top. RttT was a federal grant program that supported the efforts of the NCDPI, local school districts and many charter schools to carry out the state's Career & College: Ready, Set, Go! initiative. This education reform effort focused on college- and career-ready standards and assessments, data systems, great teachers and leaders, and school turnarounds.

SAT: Scholastic Aptitude Tests. These national tests are taken by juniors and seniors in high school, and are used by many colleges to assess whether a student is ready for college-level study.

SBE: State Board of Education. The State Board of Education is charged with supervising and administering "the free public school system and the educational funds provided for its support." The Board consists of the Lieutenant Governor, the Treasurer, and eleven members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the General Assembly in Joint Session.

SCOS or SCS: (North Carolina) Standard Course of Study. The SCOS is the guiding document outlining what should be taught in North Carolina public school classrooms.

SEA: State Education Agency. Federal term for each state education department, including North Carolina's DPI.

SIFE: Students with Interrupted Formal Education, a designation used for immigrant students who may have been unable to attend schools in their home countries because of political unrest, poverty or other circumstances.

SIP: School Improvement Plan. A plan that includes strategies for improving student performance, how and when improvements will be implemented, use of state funds, requests for waivers, etc. Plans are in effect for no more than three years.

SIS: Student Information System. SIS is a software application educational institutions use to manage student data such as enrollment. Sometimes called a student information management system (SIMS).

SLC: [North Carolina] Student Learning Conditions [Survey]. This survey provides middle and high school students with the opportunity to express their perceptions regarding the learning environment in their schools. Similar to the NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey, student responses will be utilized for school and district improvement efforts.

SLT: School Leadership Team, a school-based team composed of parents and staff. The teams meet at least once a month and determine the structure for school-based planning and shared decision-making.

SPG: School Performance Grades. A-F letter grades are calculated using achievement, growth and performance measures.

SSO: Single sign-on. This term refers to users logging into several technology tools using one sign-on name and password.

STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. STEM curriculum emphasizes connections within and between the fields of mathematics and science; integrates technology; introduces and engages students in the engineering design process; cultivates creativity; and develops skills that drive innovation.

TIMS: Transportation Information Management System. The computer system used by North Carolina school districts for routing and scheduling school buses to ensure safe and efficient bus routes.

TIPS: Team Initiated Problem Solving is a model created by the University of Oregon and University of North Carolina Charlotte to use data to solve problems and make decisions. It that includes a systematic team process usable across data sets.

Title I: Title I is the largest federal education funding program for schools. Its aim is to help students who are behind academically or at risk of falling behind. School funding is based on the number of low-income children, generally those eligible for the free and reduced-price lunch program.

Title III: Title III is the section of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that provides funding and addresses English language acquisition and standards and accountability requirements for English learners.

Title IX: Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 bans sex discrimination in academics and athletics at schools receiving federal funds.

TWC: [North Carolina] Teacher Working Conditions [Survey]. A biennial survey of all North Carolina public schools' licensed staff, the TWC survey provides educators with an opportunity to express their perceptions about working conditions at their schools. Information gathered from the survey is shared with school staff, district administrators, parents and the community for school improvement planning purposes. Survey results are available online at www.ncteachingconditions.org.

USED
United States Education Department. The USED provides federal assistance to state and local agencies primarily responsible for education and works to ensure both equal access (e.g., disadvantaged, disabled, at-risk students) and educational excellence.

WIDA: World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment. The WIDA Consortium is an educational consortium of state departments of education that supports academic language development for students who are English Learners. The WIDA suite of assessments are what North Carolina uses to assess and monitor English language proficiency.

Source: This information was compiled by staff at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.