Alabama College & Career Ready Standards Glossary

  • Here are a few education terms you may want to know to understand Alabama's College and Career Ready Standards and assessments.

    ACT Aspire: Tests developed by the same people who created the ACT that are used in grades 3-8 in Alabama to measure student achievement.

    ACT exam: National college admission examination that includes tests in English, reading, mathematics and science. Students earn a score out of 36 on the ACT that is the composite score of the student's performance in each subject.
    - The ACT uses College Readiness Benchmarks to determine if a student is college ready. These benchmarks are certain scores on each section of the ACT that indicate if a student has a 50% chance of earning a B or higher in the corresponding college course and a 75% chance of earning a C or higher.

    ACT QualityCore: End of course tests in specific subjects.

    ACT WorkKeys: Voluntary job-skills assessments given to seniors in high school that will allow them to prove to employers that they are career ready.

    Achievement gap: The difference in academic achievement of students of different cultural backgrounds, first languages or socioeconomic statuses and their peers.

    Alabama College and Career Ready Standards: Our state's education standards, based on the Common Core State Standards. The state Board of Education adopted the statewide math and English standards in 2009 and reaffirmed its support of the standards in 2010 and 2013.

    Alabama High School Graduation Exam: An old exam students had to pass in order to graduate from high school in Alabama. This high stakes test was discontinued in 2013-14.

    Assessment: A test to measure student learning.

    Collaboration: Interaction between individuals or organizations that enables the participants to accomplish goals more successfully than they could have separately. This is increasingly important in the work place. Thus, many schools teach students how to work with others on group projects.

    College and Career Ready: A student is "college and career ready" when he or she can enter the workforce or a two or four-year college without the need for remedial training or classes.

    Common Core State Standards: A list of shared academic expectations or benchmarks for math and English developed by the nation's governors and state superintendents. Forty-four states and schools managed by the United States Department of Defense have adopted a version of the Common Core State Standards.

    Curriculum: Curriculum (plural is "curricula") is the term used to describe a teacher's lesson plans, methods, textbooks, worksheets, and other classroom materials to teach his/her class.

    Critical thinking: Mental process of acquiring information and evaluating it to reach a logical conclusion.

    Grit: Resilience and the ability to keep going without giving up.

    Lessons Plan: A teacher's description of his or her instruction to the class on a particular topic (A teacher's detailed description for what he/she is teaching).

    National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP): Also called the "Nation's Report Card," the NAEP is a test is given to a random sampling of students in all 50 states every two years that is used to determine where Alabama stands compared to the rest of the country.

    Plan 2020: The state Board of Education's plan to move toward all students in Alabama graduating ready to enter the workforce or a two or four year college without the need for remediation.

    Professional development: Activities or trainings for teachers and administrators aimed at improving their instruction and other professional skills.

    Rigor: A term widely used to describe the level of difficulty of instruction, schoolwork, learning experiences, and educational expectations. In education, a lesson that is rigorous may encourage students to question their assumptions and think deeply, rather than just demand memorization and information recall.

    Rote learning: Learning through memorization of facts or repeatedly performing a task.

    Standards: A list of academic expectations for what students are expected to know at the beginning and end of each school year. Standards are put in place for the state by the state Board of Education. Teachers build their curricula upon the state's standards. Standards generally do NOT include the content a teacher teachers, but the skills a student needs to have.

    State Board of Education: An eight-member democratically-elected representative board that sets education policy (makes decisions) for all of Alabama's public schools. Alabama's Governor serves as the chairman of the board.

    State Department of Education: A state government department that provides resources, guidance, and other assistance to Alabama's public schools.

    State Superintendent: An educator appointed by the Alabama State Board of Education to implement the statewide policies (decisions) the Board adopts for Alabama's public schools. The superintendent also serves as the executive secretary of the Alabama Board. The current State Superintendent is Dr. Thomas R. Bice.

    Textbook: A book used by schools for a semester or year that contains a variety of material to be covered in the class.

    Worksheet: A supplemental resource (often a single sheet of paper with problems to solve) that students can use to help them master class material.