Some educational terms are understood differently from place to place. We in the Newfound Area School District deliver the learning with a shared understanding of the following definitions.
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Academic Rigor “Thorough, in‐depth, mastery of challenging tasks to develop cognitive skills through reflective thought, analysis, problem solving, evaluation, or creativity”. (International Center for Leadership in Education, 2007) "Rigor Redefined" (Tony Wagner, in Educational Leadership, 2008) 
Authentic Assessments Assessments that emulate the performance that would be required of the student in real-life situations. "The Case for Authentic Assessment" (Grant Wiggins, in Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 1999) 
Carnegie Unit The measurement used in most high schools to determine how much coursework a student has completed. Students usually need at least 20 Carnegie units to graduate; one unit is equal to a conventional 50-minute class taken five times per week throughout the school year. A one-semester course is worth one-half of a Carnegie unit. The units were established and promoted 100 years ago by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Today, the use of Carnegie unit has fallen into disfavor, as "seat time" is not a measure of learning. "Redefining the Carnegie Unit" (From It's Not a Matter of Time: Highlights from the 2011 Competency-Based Learning Summit) 
Cognitive Demand How content interacts with process to explicitly require appropriate cognitively demanding work. This is directly related to the number and strength of connections of concepts and procedures that a student needs to make to produce a response on the way to learning, including the level of reasoning required. (New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont Department of Education. (2004). Draft Tri‐State New England (TSNE) Mathematics Test Specifications. New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont Department of Education., 2004) "Exploring Cognitive Demand in Instruction and Assessment" (Karin Hess, National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment, 2005) 
Competencies The Knowledge, Skills, and/or Behaviors students must master in a specific content or performance area. Competency Based Pathways (iNACOL's competency wiki) 
Differentiated Instruction A form of instruction that seeks to "maximize each student's growth by meeting each student where she is and helping the student to progress. In practice, it involves offering several different learning experiences in response to students' varied needs. Learning activities and materials may be varied by difficulty to challenge students at different readiness levels, by topic in response to students' interests, and by students' preferred ways of learning or expressing themselves." Source: Quote from "Lesson 1: What Is Differentiated Instruction?" in Differentiating Instruction, an ASCD PD Online course by L. Kiernan, 2000, Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Rick Wormeli on Differentiation (A Schooltube Video) 
Enduring Concepts Concepts that we want students to understand, know, and be able to do in the future, after details are forgotten. (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005)  
Enduring Understanding “Such understandings are generally abstract in nature and often not obvious, they require un‐coverage through sustained inquiry rather than one‐shot coverage. " (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005) McTighe on Enduring Understandings 
Formative Assessment (Sometimes referred to as Assessment for Learning) A process used by both teachers and students during instruction that provides feedback to adjust ongoing teaching and learning to improve students' achievement of intended instructional outcomes. Short-interval and usually classroom-based information for teachers and students to inform the instructional process and determine what comes next in the learning process.  
Mastery The consistently successful application of a set of Knowledge (facts), Skills (processes), and Behaviors (actions) to complex problems that are often novel or unique  
Performance Assessment A task/event/ performance designed to measure a student's ability to directly demonstrate particular knowledge and skills. These kinds of assessments are scored with rubrics: established criteria for acceptable performance.  
Performance Indicator A performance indicator (or “I can” statement) provides a measure of the knowledge or skills that students are expected to demonstrate. For instance, an English writing competency calls for the Knowledge and Skills of “evaluating and selecting the information presented in terms of completeness, relevance, and validity”. One of the corresponding Performance Indicators for this is “I can determine what is relevant and what is extraneous information”.  
Proficiency A preponderance of evidence of attainment of the required competencies in and/or across a content area.  
Reliability Reliability in measurement and testing refers to the accuracy of the score. Is it sufficiently free of error? What is the likelihood that the score or grade would be constant if the test was retaken or the same performance was scored by someone else? Error is unavoidable; all tests, including the best multiple choice tests, lack 100 percent reliability. The aim is to minimize error to tolerable levels. (McTighe/Wiggins, Understanding By Design, 2005)  
Rubric A criterion-based scoring guide consisting of a fixed measurement scale and descriptions of the characteristics for each score point. Rubrics describe degrees of quality, proficiency, or understanding along a continuum. (McTighe/Wiggins, Understanding By Design, 2005)  
Standards Specific criteria for what students are expected to learn and be able to do. Content standards are the foundation of competencies.  
Standards-Based Instruction Instruction designed, taught, and assessed using student standards.  
Standards-Referenced A set of expectations surrounding a learning objective, but without a corresponding process for evaluating achievement. Standards referenced vs. Standards based 
Summative Assessment A snapshot of student performance at a given time, judged according to pre-established standards and criteria. Summative assessment typically leads to a status report on success or degree of proficiency. At NRHS, summative assessments summarize student learning at a particular point in time such as at the end of a chapter, unit, grading period, semester, year or end of a course.  
Task A task is an assessment challenge that requires the use of one’s knowledge and skill to effectively perform or create a product to reveal one’s understanding or proficiency. (McTighe/Wiggins, Understanding By Design, 2004). Tasks are the means by which Performance Indicators are measured. For instance, for the English Performance Indicator “I can determine what is relevant and what is extraneous information”, a level 1 task might be “Identify extraneous information in a paragraph.”  
Understanding by Design Also referred to as "beginning with the end in mind". UBD is a lesson presentation planning model that constructs an assessment, and connects it to a standard before designing instruction.   
Validity The inferences one can confidently draw about student learning from the results of an assessment. *Does the test measure what it purports to measure? *Does the assessment correlate with other performance results that educators consider valid? *Does the small sample of questions or tasks accurately correlate with what students would do if tested on everything that was taught? *Do the results have predictive value, that is, do they correlate with likely future success in the subject? Some or all of these questions must have a “yes” answer for an assessment to have validity. (McTighe/Wiggins, Understanding by Design, 2004)  
Webb's Depth of Knowledge Developed by Norman Webb et al. to describe four depths of knowledge: Recall, Skill/Concept, Strategic Thinking, Extended Thinking (Wisconsin Center of Educational Research, 2006) Webb's Wheel 
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