When you are in a school or and educational setting, you start speaking a secret language. You can say sentences like “The IBO wants you to do vertical articulation as a part of the backward planning sequencing for MYP to DP curriculum development in the Group 3 subjects. But make sure the summative assessments are differentiated for the ESOL students and the criterion are modified since this is a year 3 of the program.” If that made sense to you, you may be a teacher. If it didn’t, you are normal.
The military has nothing on teachers for the overuse of acronyms and coded vocabulary. In this section, I will try to provide translations for edu-speak. I’ll try to provide links or resources that are helpful. Other may add their ideas. This will evolve as I write and find myself slipping into the secret language of teachers. But a lot of the definitions are my own understanding and may show my own bias. Take what I say with a grain of salt.
- 1:1= One Computer for One Student. This is the common term for when a school provides a computer for every kid. My school is implementing this for grades 6-12 August 2011.
- IBO = International Baccalaureate Organization. An educational organization that helps teachers develop curriculum grades 1-12. Way more to write here, but this will work as a start.
- MYP= Middle Years Program. Also developed by the International Baccalaureate. Usually grades 6-10. Less scripted than the DP. Very project based, cross-curricular, student centered.
- DP = Diploma Program. It’s the pre-college curriculum developed by International Baccalaureate. Grades 11-12, exam based. For the Americans, its kind of like AP (but different).
- Assessment: This is a fancy word for the work students do. It can be small or large, but it’s a way to figure what a student understands.
- Summative Assessment: This is complicated. If you ask a student they would probably say this is the work that gets a grade. And every time a teacher hears this, it’s like hearing fingernails on a blackboard. It’s the projects, tests, essays, that show an understanding of the major concepts/skills/knowledge of a student. Formal feedback is almost always given with summative assessments.
- Formative Assessment. This is complicated. If you ask a student they would probably say this is the work that doesn’t get a grade. And every time a teacher hears this, it’s like hearing fingernails on a blackboard. This is the practice and the work that leads up to the major products. It can be a draft. It can be practice. It can be homework. Feedback may be more informal than in a summative assessment.
- Unit/Unit of Study/Unit Question: For each of my classes I teach about 4-6 units per year. These are the big topics of study. They are usually based around an open-ended unit question that frames our class discussion/assessments for the 6-8 weeks we study.
- Vertical Planning: Thoughtful planning the skills and content knowledge needed for success in a humanities (or whatever subject) from grades 9-12 or 6-12. Really great vertical planning would keep in mind grades 1-12.