Common Vocabulary in Curriculum
Here you will find a list of common vocabulary words that are used when explaining and/or referring to school curriculum’s.
What Is A Curriculum?
Standards Based vs. Standards Referenced
If the teacher uses a standards-based approach to assessment, students would only “pass” a test or course after demonstrating that they have learned the knowledge and skills described in the expected standards. The students may need to retake a test several times or redo an assignment, or they may need additional help from the teacher or other educational specialist, but the students would need to demonstrate that they learned what they were expected to learn—i.e., the specific knowledge and skills described in standards.
Curriculum: In most high schools, students typically earn credit for passing a course, but a passing grade may be an A or it may be a D, suggesting that the awarded credit is based on a spectrum of learning expectations. In these cases, the curricula taught in these schools may be standards-referenced, but not standards-based, because teachers are not evaluating whether students have achieved specific standards. In standards-based schools, courses, and programs, however, educators will use a variety of instructional and assessment methods to determine whether students have met the expected standards, including strategies such as portfolios, rubrics, and capstone projects.
Grading: In a standards-referenced course, grading may look like it traditionally has in schools: students are given numerical scores on a 1–100 scale and class grades represent an average of all scores earned over the course of a semester or year. In a standards-based course, however, “grades” often look quite different. While standards-based grading and reporting may take a wide variety of forms from school to school, grades are typically connected to descriptive standards, not based on test and assignment scores that are averaged together. For example, students may receive a report that shows how they progressing toward meeting a selection of standards. The criteria used to determine what “meeting a standard” means will defined in advance, often in a rubric, and teachers will evaluate learning progress and academic achievement in relation to the criteria. The reports students receive might use a 1–4 scale, for example, with 3s and 4s indicating that students have met the standard. In standards-based schools, grades for behaviors and work habits—e.g., getting to class on time, following rules, treating other students respectfully, turning in work on time, participating in class, putting effort into assignments—are also reported separately from academic grades, so that teachers and parents can make distinctions between learning achievement and behavioral issues.
Hidden curriculum (2014, August 26). In S. Abbott (Ed.), The glossary of education reform. Retrieved from http://edglossary.org/hidden-curriculum
Gradual Release of Responsibility in the Workshop Model Performance Indicator
There has been a recent emphasis on best practice instruction, and many researchers have weighed in on what makes some instructional methods more effective than others. Sampling the literature on best practice, common themes emerge. A key theme is that instruction should begin with a high level of teacher support that is gradually removed until students work independently (Anderson 2000; Calkins 2003; Harvey & Goudvis 2007). This is commonly known as the gradual release of responsibility model (Pearson & Gallagher 1983). This model is sometimes explained in terms of the roles the teacher and students assume throughout instruction: I do (you watch); we do it (together); you do (I observe and assist); you do (I assess) (Pearson & Gallagher 1983).
The workshop approach utilizes the gradual release of responsibility model. Modeling and a short guided practice occur at the beginning of workshop during the whole group minilesson. During the workshop period, students work independently on their writing but receive additional guidance as they confer with the teacher in small groups or one-to-one conferences.
- Teacher leads a mini-lesson in which s/he models the skill or strategy that is being taught.
- Students practice the skill or strategy together with the teacher.
- Students break out into groups that are formed based on similar needs as identified by teacher observation and assessment. The teacher works with each group in guided instruction addressing their needs.
- Students work independently or collaboratively on a project/assignment that allows them to employ and develop the particular skill or strategy.
- Students have an opportunity to share their work with the class and teacher and engage in class-wide discussion.
Often, teachers think this approach can only be used in writer’s workshop, but as we learn more about best practice we see that educators in all content areas are using the gradual release of responsibility model.
Proficiency Based Learning
Content for various definitions was directly taken/adapted from Great Schools Partnership Glossary of Educational Reform.