Edu-Speak Translations

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.

5 Responses to Edu-Speak Translations

  1. Pingback: Things I’ve learned: I’ve got a lot of things on my mind | Rebekah Madrid

  2. Pingback: Teaching Visually: Political Cartoons, Population Pyramids, and Infographics | Rebekah Madrid

  3. Sean says:

    Hey there,

    I am putting together a website for training at my new school (well, it’ll be online) and was hoping to add this bit to it (linked right back here naturally), but wanted to ask permission first.

    Great stuff like this just needs to be shared…

  4. Pingback: Putting money where my mouth is: Theory of Knowledge Edition | Rebekah Madrid

  5. Pingback: The New MYP Humanities | Rebekah Madrid

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