Education Reform: Spelling Out the Acronyms

Educators love acronyms, for whatever reason. LOVE THEM. So here’s a list of all the confusing terms you’ll find in our story on Knox County teachers and their complaints over state and local education reforms.

BAT: The Badass Teacher Association was founded by Fordham professor Mark Naison earlier this year and has since sprung up chapters in all 50 states and DC.

CCSS: Common Core State Standards defines itself on its website as providing “a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers.” They have been adopted by 45 states and D.C.

CDC-A: Comprehensive Development Classroom-Activity Based Program provides individualized special education services for those students whose IEPs require a focus on basic functional academics and preparing students for independent living and working. It’s one of a few different types of special education classrooms offered by the district.

CTE: Career & Technical Education, formerly known as vocational education.

KCS: Knox County Schools.

IEP: Individualized Education Plans, used for children with learning disabilities or other limitations.

NAEP: The National Assessment of Educational Progress is a federal standardized test, conducted periodically in mathematics, reading, science, writing, the arts, civics, economics, geography, and U.S. history.

PARCC: The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers is a consortium of 18 states plus D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands working together to develop a common set of K-12 assessments in English and math. PARCC assessments will begin in the 2014-15 school year and will only be offered on computers. The test will replace TCAP and is ostensibly designed to be a better match for Common Core instruction.

TAP: The Teacher Advancement Program was created by the Milken Family Foundation and designed to improve teacher retention and performance. There are 18 KCS schools, most of them high-poverty, using TAP.

TEAM: The Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model is the evaluation system used by Knox County Schools, as well as most school districts in the state.

TELL: The Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning survey has been conducted twice, in 2011 and 2013. Gov. Haslam uses it as a justification that teachers in the state are happy, but the survey doesn’t actually have any questions on it about morale.

TCAP: The Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program is a set of statewide assessments given in Tennessee to measure students’ skills and progress. Students in grades 3-8 take the Achievement Test, and high school students take End of Course exams for various subjects.

TVASS: The Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System is a statistical analysis of achievement data that reveals academic growth over time for students and groups of students, such as those in a grade level or in a school. Most TVASS data is based on test results.

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