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Education Abbreviations You Need to Know

Education Abbreviations You Need to Know

Education is full of abbreviations. Some are highly specialized and only particular to certain educators. Others are so well-known that they are used on a regular basis even in the news. But, here are some abbreviations that every teacher should be familiar with.

ESSA - The Every Student Succeeds Act

In a rare bipartisan effort for Washington, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the country’s overarching education law was passed in late 2015 and began to take effect during the 2017–18 school year. It replaces the largely unpopular No Child Left Behind Act and represents a departure in education policy at the federal level.

One of the hallmarks of ESSA is that it transfers some powers back to the states that were taken away in the era of No Child Left Behind. The federal government, particularly the U.S. Department of Education (ED), has oversight. But the states, by and large, are in charge of meeting the requirements of the law with their own plans. There is flexibility for each state when determining individual plans.

For example, ESSA calls for the states to have “robust, multi-measure statewide accountability systems,” without specifically defining what that looks like. ED issued guidance that the state plans need to include measures for academic achievement, graduation rates, academic progress, and progress toward English-language proficiency. States have the power to select other indicators, but they must meet more guidelines from ED.

Overall, the law is popular in that it strikes a decent balance between state and federal power. That being said, the U.S. Department of Education is currently in a state of reinvention, so even more federal powers may be ceded to the states in the near future.

DOK - Depth of Knowledge

Norman Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK) Framework provides a language system for content complexity in learning. Many districts and administrators have adopted the system as a way to organize lessons and units to make sure that rigor is applied in a strategic and uniform way.

DOK includes four levels:

Level 1: Recall and reproduction, including copying, defining, and recognizing information

Level 2: Skills and concepts, including tasks that require more than one step, such as comparison, summarization, prediction, and estimation

Level 3: Strategic thinking, which includes tasks that require planning and evidence, such as planning an experiment or organizing a debate

Level 4: Extended thinking, which requires students to bring in information from multiple sources and synthesize it for their needs

Language-Proficiency Abbreviations

In a country like the United States where 15 percent of public school students are ELLs (English language learners), every teacher can have the chance of being a TESOL (teacher of English to speakers of other languages). Strategies like CALLA (Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach) will likely become important, as schools will be judged based on their LEP (limited English proficiency) performances. Strategies should be available for students no matter what their L1 (first language) is. For older students and adults, schools and CTE (career and technical education) programs are starting to focus on EAP (English for academic purposes) or even VESL (vocational English as a second language), rather than just standard English.

Looking for more ways to stay up to date in the world of education? Check out these recent adult and higher education statistics!