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Education Terms

Education Terms



Accelerated Instructional Plan

Intervention plan for accelerated instruction.  The purpose of the AIP is to assist the student in achieving grade level achievement.


Achievement Test

A test designed to measure a child's knowledge, skill and understanding in

subject areas.  For instance, these tests may measure the child's reading

comprehension, math calculation or spelling capability as compared to

other children in the same grade or same age.


Adaptive Behavior

The ability to socially function in school, home or community environment.

It involves skills such as: making friends, bathing and dressing appropriately,

being punctual for appointments, budgeting, etc.


Adequate Yearly Progress

The method by which each state measures all students' ability to meet the state's student academic achievement standards.


Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) Committee

This Committee makes decisions regarding the special education needs of the child.  It determines if the child has a disability, if special education services are needed, and if modifications in general education are required.  The parent or surrogate parent is an important member, and is encouraged to attend and participate. An ARD is called an IEP meeting in other states in accordance with IDEA.


Age / Grade Equivalent

The scores from tests given to a student are defined in years and months that are equal to the average score of children of that age/grade group.


Annual Goals

These are broad academic or behavioral goals the child is to accomplish for the

year (i.e., Lisa will master TEKS at the third grade level with 70% accuracy.

Must be measurable according to IDEA 2004).



A process of determining student skills through a variety of means.  Assessment

includes state or district wide tests (e.g., TAKS, SDAA, RTPE or district

administered achievement tests) and informal skill determination that occurs

on an on-going basis in the classroom by the student's teacher.  Assessment

does not require parental consent.


Audiological Services

This related service includes the evaluation of hearing ability and recommendation of certain types of hearing equipment for a child with a hearing impairment.


Auditory Impairment

A disability in which the child has hearing problems which delay or prevent him/her from developing speech, language or academic skill.



A rare disorder with a neurological basis, in which the child experiences severe

language disorders, may display inappropriate or unusual behaviors, have abnormal intellectual capability, and have impaired social interactions.



Battery of Tests

A group of tests given to a child to determine strengths and weaknesses.



An intermediate step or level attained in acquiring a new skill.



Central Nervous System

The brain and spinal cord.



Intellectual abilities, such as memory and the ability to solve problems and make




Before a child can be tested or placed in a special education program, a parent

must give written permission for these services to take place.  Consent is required for all formal evaluations.


Content Mastery (CM)

Students are taught to compensate for their learning disability by the content mastery teacher/co-teacher on their school campus.  These teachers serve as a resource to both the student and general classroom teacher.  Students served by Content Mastery will receive direct instruction in general education, and will go to CM for reinforcement, test preparation or test administration.




The level of skill acquisition set by the ARD Committee and used to determine

whether or not an educational goal/objective is being met.  For example, a

criteria for spelling achievement is "correctly spelling 9 out of 10 words".


Cumulative Record

The main schools file for a student's educational records.  The records begin

when a child enters school and follows the child from school to school.  They

include information about health records, grades, attendance and achievement




The subject matter a school is going to teach the child, including the use

of special activities and materials to help the child learn.  In Texas, curricular

activities are based on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).




Students who meet the criteria for both Visual Impairment and Auditory Impairment fall into this category.  The combination of these impairments causes such severe, significant communication and other developmental and educational problems, that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness.


Due Process

A guarantee of rights and privileges that neither the government nor any other

public agency can take away.  For example, the parent's right to be notified before any action can be taken concerning their child.



Early Childhood

Public school education can begin at age 3 years for young children with a

disability.  Currently referred to as Public Preschool for Children with

Disabilities (PPCD).


Educational Benefit

Educational benefit is the second prong of the requirement for providing FAPE.

Four factors for evaluating whether a child is receiving educational benefit:

  1.   whether there is an individualized program based on the students assessment and performance;

  2.   whether the individualized program is administered in the least restrictive environment (LRE);

  3.   whether the services are provided in a coordinated and collaborative manner by the key stakeholders and;

  4.   whether positive benefits are demonstrated both academically and non-academically.


Educational Diagnostician

A professional in special education who gives tests to determine the academic and intellectual abilities of children.  In some districts/states an LSSP (Licensed Specialist in School Psychology), or a psychometrist may fulfill this role.


Education Service Center (ESC)

One of 20 regional offices within Texas to provide consultation, professional

development and assistance to local school districts.  Our local region is

ESC 4 and includes the counties of Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty and Waller counties.


Emotional Disturbance (ED)

A disability in which a child's behavior is interfering with social skills, coping skills and/or academic areas.


English Language Proficiency Observation Protocols (ELPOP)

Observation protocols that allow teachers to holistically rate each LEP student's English language proficiency based on classroom observation and daily interaction with the student.



An evaluation consists of tests or measures used to determine the child's special needs. Evaluation may include intellectual, social, emotional, educational achievement, physical, auditory, speech, language, etc.  Parental consent is required for evaluation.


Expressive Language

Describes how a child uses spoken or written language to communicate with others.  Expressive language can also include gestures or hand signs.


Eye-Hand Coordination

The ability to use the eye and hand simultaneously to effectively complete a task. Activities of eye-hand coordination include copying designs from a book, cutting with scissors on a line, or painting with a brush.




Fine Motor Development

The skills developed by a child that involve precision tasks done with the hands,

such as writing, gripping an object, playing with puzzles, stringing beads, etc.


Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

In order to offer a free appropriate public education, the school district must

comply with the procedural requirements of IDEA 2004 and the school district must design and implement a program reasonably calculated to enable the child to receive educational benefits.



General Education Program

Education programs for all students.  Students with disabilities must be allowed

access to the general education program.


Grade Placement Committee

Makes decisions regarding a plan for accelerated instruction and grade advancement for students that do not pass the state mandated tests. (For students with disabilities this is the ARD committee.)


Gross Motor Development

A persons large muscle development exhibited in such skills as crawling, walking,  jumping, throwing or running.



A person who has legal authority to make decisions for a minor.  The parent is the legal guardian of a minor child.  A person 18 years or older does not have a guardian unless one is appointed by a court.



Homebound Program

An instructional arrangement for special education in which the teacher instructs

the student at the hospital or home for a minimum of four weeks.




An educational philosophy in which all children with disabilities are educated in

only general education classrooms.  The special services needed by the child

would be provided within the general classroom setting.


IDEA 2004

An acronym for The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004.  Federal legislation which amended P.L.94-142 and renamed as The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 1990. IDEA was then re-authorized in 1997 and added two new disabilities (TBI and Autism) and required the planning of post secondary transitional services. It was reauthorized again on December 3, 2004 as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004.  It is now P.L.108-446 or more commonly known as IDEA 2004.



Individualized Education Program (IEP)

A written plan for education and related services.  It contains the educational/behavioral goals and objectives, present levels of performance, the amount of special education services needed and modifications for the general education program.  The IEP is reviewed for progress each year.


Intelligence Quotient (IQ)

A score which reflects a child's mental abilities and cognitive development.  On many instruments, the IQ score of an average person generally ranges from 90 to 110 points.




Describes how a child's special services will be provided.


Interpreter Service

This related service provides sign language help for children with hearing impairments.



Learning Disability (LD)

A disability in which a child with generally average or above average intelligence has significant problems in academic achievement (i.e., basic reading, reading comprehension, math calculation, math reasoning, listening comprehension, oral expression or written expression).


Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

Assurances that a child with a disability is educated to the maximum extent

possible with non-disabled students.


  Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP)

A professional in special education who gives tests to determine the academic and intellectual abilities of children.  This professionals is also a specialist in psychology and education.



A child with disabilities is placed in all general education classes without regularly

scheduled special education services to the maximum extent appropriate.


Managing Conservator

A suitable, competent adult, parent or authorized agency appointed by the court to have responsibilities and rights of a parent.  When a public agency is managing conservator of a child with disabilities, a surrogate parent must be appointed.


Mental Age

A child's mental ability compared to children of the same chronological age. 

For example, a child with retardation may have a mental age of 4 years but might be 18 years old.


Intellectual Disability  (ID)

A disability for children whose intellectual ability is significantly lower than

the average person.  On many instruments, an IQ score of 70 or below would be

in the mentally retarded range.


Multi-disciplinary Team

More than two educational professionals working together to evaluate and help

a special child.  May include a variety of disciplines (e.g., teacher, speech

pathologist, counselor, psychologist, OT, PT).


Multiple Disability

An eligibility that applies when a combination of impairments occurs that is

expected to continue indefinitely and severely impairs performance in two or

more of the following areas: psychomotor skills, self-care skills, communication,

social and emotional development or cognition.


No Child Left Behind

2002 revision of the 1994 Improving America's Schools Act.


Occupational Therapy (OT)

A related service to help a child develop fine motor skills.  The OT may also

suggest equipment to help children in daily activities.


Orthopedic Impairment (OI)

A disability category for a child with physical challenges of the bones, joints

or muscles that affect the ability to move.


Other Health Impairment (OHI)

A disability category for children with serious health problems that limit their

strength, vitality or alertness.  These serious health problems may be heart

disease, seizure disorders, cancer, respiratory disorders, etc.



Physical Therapy (PT)

A related service provided to a child who has difficulty using motor skills

(large and fine muscles).


Present Level of Performance

Describes the current skill level that the student is performing.


Psychological Services

A related service which may include evaluation of social and emotional

behaviors of a child.  A psychologist may also provide counseling/therapy

to the child, or consult with the family or teachers to work on the child's

challenging behaviors.


Public Law 94-142

Legislation passed by the U.S. Congress guaranteeing a free, appropriate

education for all disabled children.  It is now P.L.108-446.




Reading for Proficiency Test in English

Test administered to limited English proficient (LEP) students in grades 3-12. 

RPTE is part of the comprehensive system for assisting LEP students'

academic progress.


Receptive Language

Describes how a child receives and understands verbal and non-verbal

information from others.



Positive praise or other rewards (food, toys, etc.) given to a child when they

successfully complete a task.


Related Service

Special programs a child can receive if he/she needs special help or support

in learning.  These services may include occupational therapy, physical

therapy, audiological services,  psychological services , interpreter, orientation

and mobility training, as well as others.  Related services are provided, when

appropriate, to support the implementation of the IEP.


Resource Room

A special education instructional arrangement where a student can spend a part

of their school day receiving special instruction.  The majority of the student's

instruction will be from general education teachers.




Schedule of Services

A schedule of the student's classes which designates all of the student's daily

services, whether each subject/service is provided in general or special education

and the amount of time the student receives in each subject/service.


Self-Contained Classroom

An instructional arrangement in which a student receives the major portion

of daily instruction from a special education teacher.  May include more

restrictive placement due to significant academic or behavioral needs.


Self-help Skills

Skills that a child uses in daily living, such as eating, dressing and toileting.


Service Plan

A plan for private/home school students selected to receive a part or all of the

special education services they would be entitled if enrolled full time in the public schools.


 Short-term Objective

Small instructional steps which lead to the accomplishment of the child's annual goal. These objectives must be observable and measurable.  May also be called benchmarks.


Special Education

Those services which are additional or different from those provided to a typical  student. Special curriculum, materials, teaching techniques, management strategies and equipment are provided to meet the needs of children with disabilities.


Speech Impairment (SI)

A disability category for children having expressive and/or receptive language

difficulties or with voice/fluency impairments.


Speech and Language Therapy

Therapy which includes evaluation and instruction in articulation, fluency

(stuttering), voice stress or expressive/receptive language skills.  Speech therapy

in the public schools must be based on educational needs of the students.


State Developed Alternative Assessment II (SDAA II)

The Texas developed alternative assessment that is modified in content and language to assess special education students' acquisition of the TEKS.


Student Success Initiative

The SSI is a set of three initiatives that together provide a system of academic support to help ensure achievement on grade level in reading and math, so that every student can succeed throughout his or her school career.


Surrogate Parent

A surrogate parent must be appointed for any child in special education whose parents' rights have been terminated or the parents are unknown.  A surrogate parent represents a student in all the same matters that would require a natural parent's involvement.






Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS)

Texas developed state assessment for determining students' acquisition of the TEKS.


Texas Behavior Support Initiative

Designed to build campus level knowledge and skills on the use of positive behavior supports for students with disabilities.


Texas Education Agency (TEA)

The state agency that is responsible for administering all educational programs in

Texas .


Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)

A revision of the state standards adopted by the Texas State Board of Education.  Replaces the Essential Elements (EEs) of Chapter 75.


Texas Primary Reading Inventory

Informal assessment developed to provide teachers with a means of determining

where along the continuum of growth the students are progressing as readers.  


Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

A disability category for children who have experienced an injury to the brain

caused by external forces.




Visual Impairment (VI)

A disability category for children with difficulties processing visual information.

Partially sighted children have a visual acuity of 20/60 with correction and can read print. Blindness is defined as central vision of 20/200 with correction or field vision (side vision) of no more than 20 degrees.

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