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In education, as in most specialized professions, educators use terms that may be unfamiliar to the general public. For example, most people associate the ABCs with the alphabet and having pep with energy. But if an educator uses these terms, they take on a new meaning. It’s not surprising that parents and others new to public schools often feel confused. This list of the more commonly used acronyms or abbreviations and their meanings has been developed to assist everyone in public schools communicate more effectively.

Until the end of the 2011-12 school year, the ABCs of Public Education was North Carolina’s comprehensive plan to improve public schools. Implemented in the 1996-97 school year, the model focused on schools meeting growth expectations for student achievement as well as on the overall percentage of students who scored at or above grade level. Schools received recognition based on student growth and the percentage of students’ scores at or above grade level.

Accountability and Curriculum Revision Effort. This describes all of the work performed by the NCDPI to implement the recommendations contained in the State Board of Education’s “Framework for Change: The Next Generation of Assessments and Accountability” document. This document describes a new vision of the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, student testing, and district and school accountability.

American College Test. An assessment taken by students as a precursor to college/university admission.

Average Daily Membership. The number of days a student is in membership at a school divided by the number of days in a school month or school year.

Annual Measurable Objectives. AMO are proficiency targets set by student subgroup at the state level with the goal to reduce by half the percentage of students considered non-proficient in reading and mathematics within six years.

Advanced Placement. A program that enables high school students to complete college-level courses for college placement and/or credit.

Adequate Yearly Progress. A former measure under No Child Left Behind used by the state to gauge yearly progress of student subgroups toward meeting 100 proficiency in reading and mathematics. North Carolina received a waiver from the US Department of Education in 2012 to use AMO to gauge student progress toward meeting proficiency goals in reading and mathematics.

Comprehensive Exceptional Children Accountability System. A secure web-based student information system for exceptional children that supports online case management, compliance monitoring, data analysis, and federal and state reporting requirements.

[NC] Common Education Data Analysis & Reporting System. CEDARS is North Carolina’s PreK-13 State Longitudinal Data System. Once fully in place (July 2011), CEDARS will enable state, local and federal policymakers and service providers to make data-driven decisions based on analysis of trends and relationships between various educational factors and student performance over time.

Career and Technical Education. CTE provides high school students the opportunity to take courses in eight program areas so that they can explore interests and careers while building and strengthening their career-specific knowledge and skills. The eight education program areas are: Agricultural; Business, Finance and Information Technology; Career Development; Family and Consumer Sciences; Health Science; Marketing and Entrepreneurship; Technology Engineering and Design; and Trade and Industrial.

Educational Directory & Demographical Information Exchange. EDDIE is the authoritative source for North Carolina public school information including LEA numbers, school numbers, administrative contacts, school types, grade levels, calendar types, program types and addresses. Information contained in EDDIE is populated by local districts and feeds multiple NCDPI systems including Accountability, NC WISE, and NC School Report Cards, and is used to meet federal reporting requirements. EDDIE replaced the School, Name and Address (SNA) file in April 2010.

English Language Arts. Part of the Common Core curriculum in the NC Standard Course of Study, ELA refers to reading, literature, reading, writing and speaking and listening.

English Language Learner. Student whose first language is one other than English and who needs language assistance to participate fully in the regular curriculum.

End-of-Course tests designed to access the competencies defined by the Standard Course of Study for three mandated courses: Algebra I/Integrated I, English II and Biology. Tests are taken during the last two weeks of school for students on a traditional calendar and the last week of the course for students on a block schedule.

End-of-Grade tests in reading and mathematics (grades 3-8) and science (grades 5 and 8) that are taken by students during the last three weeks of the school year.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This is the principal federal law affecting K-12 education. When the ESEA of 1965 was reauthorized and amended in 2002, it was renamed the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. In 2009, the program was again referenced as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

English as a Second Language. A program model that delivers specialized instruction to students who are learning English as a new language.

Education Value Added Assessment System. SAS® EVAAS™ for K-12 is a customized software system available to all NC school districts that provides diagnostic reports quickly to district and school staff. EVAAS tools provide a precise measurement of student progress over time and a reliable diagnosis of opportunities for growth that help to identify which students are at risk for under-achievement. By viewing easy-to-understand charts and graphs accessed via the Web, users can produce reports that predict student success, show the effects of instruction at particular schools, or reveal patterns in subgroup performance.

Free and Reduced Priced Lunch. Children qualify, based upon parent or guardian financial status, to receive either free or reduced priced lunch through a federal governmental program.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This federal law, reauthorized in 2004, is designed to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free and appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living.

Individualized Education Program. The IEP is a written statement for a student with a disability that is developed, at least annually, by a team of professionals knowledgeable about the student and the parent. The plan describes the strengths of the child and the concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child, and when, where, and how often services will be provided. The IEP is required by federal law for all exceptional children and must include specific information about how the student will be served and what goals he or she should be meeting.

Institute of Higher Education. A college or university offering education beyond grade 12.

IDEA Proficiency Test. Test used to determine the appropriate assessment for limited English proficient students.

Instructional Improvement System. The IIS provides portals for students, teachers, parents, and school and district administrators to access data and resources to inform decision-making related to instruction, assessment and students’ career and college goals.

Local Education Agency. Synonymous with a local school system or a local school district, indicating that a public board of education or other public authority maintains administrative control of the public schools in a city or county.

Limited English Proficient. Students whose first language is one other than English who need language assistance to participate fully in the regular curriculum and the statewide assessment system.

Learning Management System. A software application that is used to administer, document, track, report and deliver educational courses or training programs.

Learner Object Repository. A storage site for digital content or "digital library." An LOR lets educators share, manage and use educational resources.

Multi-tiered framework which promotes school improvement through engaging, research-based academic and behavioral practices. NC MTSS employs a systems approach using data-driven problem-solving to maximize growth for all.

National Assessment of Educational Progress. Also known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” NAEP assesses the educational achievement of elementary and secondary students in various subject areas. It provides data for comparing the performance of students in North Carolina to that of their peers nationwide.

The North Carolina Checklist of Academic Standards is an alternate assessment designed to measure grade-level competencies of students identified as limited English proficient and some students with disabilities.

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. The NCDPI administers the policies adopted by the State Board of Education and offers instructional, financial, technological and personnel support to all public school systems in the state.

The North Carolina Educator Evaluation System. A system used to evaluate the performance of all teachers, principals, assistant principals, instructional central office administrators and superintendents in order to promote effective leadership, quality teaching and student learning while enhancing professional practice that leads to improved instruction.

The North Carolina EXTEND1 is an alternate assessment designed to measure the performance of students with significant cognitive disabilities using alternate achievement standards.

The North Carolina EXTEND2 is an alternate assessment designed to measure grade-level competencies of students with disabilities using modified achievement standards in a simplified multiple choice format.

No Child Left Behind. NCLB is the 2002 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and represents a sweeping change in the federal government’s role in local public education. NCLB’s primary goal is for all public school children to be proficient or above in reading and mathematics by 2013-14. Title I schools that do not meet certain student achievement standards face sanctions under this law.

Northwest Education Association. The association offers a formative assessment item bank that contains more than 70,000 standards-based items for mathematics, English Language Arts, science and social studies, all aligned to the appropriate standards in all 50 states.

Open Educational Resources. Teaching, learning and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.

Online Learning Exchange. The exchange resides, as the title suggests, online to connect teachers to libraries of subject-specific media assets, editable content, and user-generated materials.

Positive Behavior Intervention and Support. Positive Behavior Intervention and Support programs are a way to impact school learning environments by establishing and reinforcing clear behavioral expectations in order to support high student performance and to reduce behavioral problems. PBIS site schools work to integrate their Safe Schools Plans, character education efforts and strategies, and discipline efforts in order to make the schools caring and safe communities for learning.

Professional Development. The term refers to skills and knowledge attained for both personal development and career advancement such as continuous courses, workshops, activities and learning objectives aimed at helping professional educators and staff members improve their skills in their fields.

Personalized Education Plan. An individualized educational plan designed to improve a student’s performance to grade-level proficiency.

Professional Learning Communities. PLCs are defined by collaborative inquiry, shared decision-making and joint planning of instruction among teachers. Teachers are provided structured time to work together in planning instruction, observing each other's classrooms, and sharing feedback.

Pre-Scholastic Assessment Test. Normally taken by high school juniors as a practice test for the SAT. Some schools use the PSAT as a diagnostic tool to identify areas where students may need additional assistance or placement in more rigorous courses.

The READY initiative, which is being implemented in public schools in the 2012-13 school year, focuses not only on student proficiency in foundational subjects but on ensuring students are career and college ready when they graduate high school. The initiative is characterized by a new Standard Course of Study, assessments and accountability model.

Regional Education Service Alliance. These regional alliances (sometimes called consortium) provide staff development, leadership development, technical assistance and help in spreading information related to state initiatives to member public school systems in each of the state's nine geographic regions: Northeast, Southeast, Central Carolina, Sandhills, Piedmont-Triad, Southwest, Northwest, Western and Roanoke River Valley.

Race to the Top. RttT is a federal grant program that supports the efforts of the NCDPI, local school districts and many charter schools to carry out the state’s Career & College: Ready, Set, Go! initiative. This bold education reform effort is focused on college- and career-ready standards and assessments, data systems, great teachers and leaders, and school turnarounds. North Carolina is one of 12 recipients of RttT grant awards. Approximately half of the $400 million in RttT funding is being distributed to districts for their own initiatives that support North Carolina’s Race to the Top plan through 2014.

The SAT is often taken by high school juniors and seniors as a precursor to college/university admission. It assesses a student’s verbal, mathematical and writing skills.

State Board of Education. The State Board of Education is charged with supervising and administering “the free public school system and the educational funds provided for its support.” The Board consists of the Lieutenant Governor, the Treasurer, and eleven members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the General Assembly in Joint Session.

(North Carolina) Standard Course of Study. The SCOS is the guiding document outlining what should be taught in North Carolina public school classrooms.

State Education Agency. Federal term for each state education department. SEA is another name for the NCDPI.

School Improvement Plan. A plan that includes strategies for improving student performance, how and when improvements will be implemented, use of state funds, requests for waivers, etc. Plans are in effect for no more than three years.

Student Information System. SIS is a software application educational institutions use to manage student data such as enrollment. Also sometimes called a a student information management system (SIMS).

[North Carolina] Student Learning Conditions [Survey]. This survey provides middle and high school students with the opportunity to express their perceptions regarding the learning environment in their schools. Similar to the NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey, student responses will be utilized for school and district improvement efforts.

Single sign-on. This term refers to users logging into several technology tools using one sign-on name and password.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. STEM curriculum emphasizes connections within and between the fields of mathematics and science; integrates technology; introduces and engages students in the engineering design process; cultivates creativity; and develops skills that drive innovation.

Transportation Information Management System. The computer system used by North Carolina school districts for routing and scheduling school buses to ensure safe and efficient bus routes.

Team Initiated Problem Solving is a model created out of the University of Oregon and University of NC at Charlotte for using data for problem solving and decision making that includes a systematic team process generalize-able across data sets.

Title I
Title I is the largest federal education funding program for schools. Its aim is to help students who are behind academically or at risk of falling behind. School funding is based on the number of low-income children, generally those eligible for the free and reduced price lunch program. Title I used to be known as Chapter I.

Title III
Title III is the section of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that provides funding and addresses English language acquisition and standards and accountability requirements for limited English proficient students.

Title IX
Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 bans sex discrimination in schools receiving federal funds, whether it is in academics or athletics.

[North Carolina] Teacher Working Conditions [Survey]. A biennial survey of all North Carolina public schools’ licensed staff, the TWC survey provides educators with an opportunity to express their perceptions about working conditions at their schools. Information gathered from the survey is shared with school staff, district administrators, parents and the community for school improvement planning purposes. Survey results are available online at In addition, the new evaluation instruments for superintendents, principals and teachers use TWC responses to reflect on the presence of working conditions in the school.

United States Education Department. The USED provides federal assistance to state and local agencies primarily responsible for education and works to ensure both equal access (e.g., disadvantaged, disabled, at-risk students) and educational excellence. The department engages in four major types of activities: establishes policies related to federal education funds, administers distribution of funds and monitors their use; collects data and oversees research on America’s schools; identifies major issues in education and focuses national attention on them; and enforces federal laws prohibiting discrimination in programs that receive federal funds (USED website).

Inquiries or complaints should be directed to:
Dr. Rebecca Garland, Deputy State Superintendent
6368 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-6368
Telephone: 919.807.3200 :: Fax: 919.807.3388