This page contains definitions of some key educational terms and acronyms. When you’re browsing an article, words in the glossary will be highlighted and you can hover over them for a definition.

a b c d g i l m n o p r s t v
a
  • AfL -

    Assessment for Learning (also known as formative assessment) - the process of gathering evidence through assessment to inform and support next steps for a students’ teaching and learning

  • Assessment for learning -

    Known as AfL for short, and also known as formative assessment, this is the process of gathering evidence through assessment to inform and support next steps for a students’ teaching and learning

  • Attainment grouping -

    Also known as ability grouping, the practice of grouping students according to measures of attainment

b
  • Baseline assessment -

    When referring to early years education, a measurement of a child’s performance conducted within a few weeks of them starting school in Reception, with a focus on literacy and numeracy.

c
  • Classroom climate -

    The social, emotional, intellectual and physical environment of a classroom

  • CLT -

    Cognitive Load Theory - the idea that working memory is limited and that overloading it can have a negative impact on learning, and that instruction should be designed to take this into account

  • Cognitive Load Theory -

    Abbreviated to CLT, the idea that working memory is limited and that overloading it can have a negative impact on learning, and that instruction should be designed to take this into account

  • Cognitive Science -

    The study of the human mind, such as the processes of thought, memory, attention and perception

  • Comparative judgement -

    An approach to marking where teachers compare two students’ responses to a task and choose which is better, then repeat this process with other pieces of work

d
  • Department for Education -

    The ministerial department responsible for children’s services and education in England

  • DfE -

    Department for Education - a ministerial department responsible for children’s services and education in England

  • Dialogic teaching -

    The effective use of talk for teaching and learning, involving ongoing talk between teachers and students

  • Direct instruction -

    A method of instruction in which concepts or skills are taught using explicit teaching techniques, such as demonstrations or lectures, and are practised until fully understood by each student

  • Discovery learning -

    Allowing learners to discover key ideas or concepts for themselves

  • Diversity -

    The recognition of individual differences in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, physical ability, religious beliefs and other differences

g
  • Growth mindset -

    The theory, popularised by Carol Dweck, that students’ beliefs about their intelligence can affect motivation and achievement; those with a growth mindset believe that their intelligence can be developed

i
  • Inclusion -

    An approach where a school aims to ensure that all children are educated together, with support for those who require it to access the full curriculum and contribute to and participate in all aspects of school life

  • Initial teacher training -

    Abbreviated to ITT, the period of academic study and time in school leading to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)

  • Interleaving -

    An approach to learning where, rather than focusing on one piece of content at a time (known as blocking) then moving on to the next, students alternate between related concepts

  • ITT -

    Initial teacher training - the period of academic study and time in school leading to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)

l
  • Learning styles -

    Theories relating to the idea that individuals learn best in different ways and teaching should be tailored to their learning styles – these have been widely debunked by research

  • Left/right brain dominance -

    The theory that each side of the brain controls different types of thinking – an example of a neuromyth

m
  • Mark schemes -

    Criteria used for assessing pieces of work in relation to particular grades

  • MAT -

    Multi-academy trust - a group of schools working in collaboration, governed by a single set of members and directors

  • Meta-analysis -

    A quantitative study design used to systematically assess the results of multiple studies in order to draw conclusions about that body of research

  • Multi-academy trust -

    Abbreviated to MAT, a group of schools working in collaboration, governed by a single set of members and directors

n
  • Neuromyths -

    Common misconceptions about the brain

o
  • Ofsted -

    The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills – a non-ministerial department responsible for inspecting and regulating services that care for children and young people, and services providing education and skills

  • Overlearning -

    Engaging in repeated practice of concepts beyond the point where a learner has already understood the key idea

p
  • Peer-reviewed journal -

    A journal in which research papers are evaluated by experts in the field

  • PISA -

    The Programme for International Student Assessment, a worldwide study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), intended to evaluate educational systems by measuring 15-year-old school students’ knowledge and skills

  • Point of mastery -

    The point at which a learner has a high level of understanding of a given concept or domain

  • Programme for International Student Assessment -

    Abbreviated to PISA, a worldwide study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), intended to evaluate educational systems by measuring 15-year-old school students’ knowledge and skills

  • Pupil Premium -

    Additional funding for publicly funded schools in England to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils of all abilities

r
  • Reliability -

    In assessment, the degree to which the outcome of a particular assessment would be consistent – for example, if it were marked by a different marker or taken again

s
  • Scaffolding -

    Progressively introducing students to new concepts to support their learning

  • SENCO -

    A special educational needs coordinator – a teacher who is responsible for special educational needs at school

  • Spacing effect -

    The benefit to learning of including gaps between study and revision sessions

t
  • TA -

    Teaching Assistant - an adult that assists the teacher in the classroom

  • Teaching Assistant -

    An adult that assists a teacher in the classroom

  • Teachmeet -

    An organised but informal event to bring teachers together and share practice

  • Threshold concept -

    A key concept which, once understood, can transform the student’s perception of the area of study, and without which the student’s learning cannot progress

  • TIMSS -

    Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study – a series of international assessments of the mathematics and science knowledge of students around the world

  • Transfer -

    The processes of applying learning to new situations

v
  • Validity -

    In assessment, the degree to which a particular assessment measures what it is intended to measure, and the extent to which proposed interpretations and uses are justified

  • Virtual learning environment -

    An online system that allows teachers to share resources with students via the internet

  • VLE -

    Virtual Learning Environment – an online system that allows teachers to share resources with students via the internet