Glossary of Terms

21st Century skills– Refers to a broad set of knowledge, skills, work habits, and character traits that are believed—by educators, school reformers, college professors, employers, and others—to be critically important to success in today’s world, particularly in collegiate programs and contemporary careers and workplaces. Generally speaking, 21st century skills can be applied in all academic subject areas, and in all educational, career, and civic settings throughout a student’s life.


Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs)– Annual targets set by the state on mandated state tests.

Approaches to Learning (ATL)– Deliberate strategies, skills and attitudes that permeate the IB teaching and learning environment. They support the belief that a large influence on a student’s education is not only what you learn but also how you learn. ATL(s) focus on thinking skills, communications skills, social skills, self-management skills, and research skills.

CCSS– Common Core State Standards: Michigan’s standards for English and math.

Climate– Patterns of students', parents' and school personnel's experience of school life that reflects norms, goals, values, interpersonal relationships, teaching and learning practices, and organizational structures.

Culture – Refers to the quality and character of school life.


District Improvement Team – District team that coordinates with the School Improvement Teams to unify improvement efforts across the district.


District Leadership– Superintendent, assistant superintendents, executive director, building principals, and program directors.


Formative Assessments– Assessments that are used by teachers before the end of a learning cycle, or expected time frame for mastery, to gather progress on student learning. They are the most instructionally-sensitive types of progress monitoring that provide immediate or on-time feedback during the learning process. Teachers can use formative data to determine the learning needs of students and improve instructional activities.


International Baccalaureate (IB)– An educational program that celebrates the many ways people work together to construct meaning and make sense of the world. Through the interplay of asking, doing and thinking, this constructivist approach leads towards open, democratic classrooms. An IB education empowers young people for a lifetime of learning, independently and in collaboration with others. It prepares a community of learners to engage with global challenges through inquiry, action and reflection.


Michigan Grade Level Content Learning Expectations and High School Content Expectations – Benchmark skills and content that have been established through the Michigan Department of Education for K-12 subjects other than English, math, and science.


Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)– Also known as response to intervention.  Strategies, interventions, assessments provided to students who are struggling.


Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) - Michigan’s new standards for K-12 science.


Professional Learning Communities (PLC) – Educators committed to working collaboratively in ongoing processes of collective inquiry and action research in order to achieve better results for the students they serve.


School Improvement Teams– Building teams made up of administrators, staff and parents who guide and direct schoolwide improvement of instruction


Student Learning Objective (SLO) - A detailed, measurable goal developed by educators in collaboration with their evaluator and/or colleagues to address identified student needs across a specified period of time (typically a semester). The teacher uses pre and post-assessments to measure student growth on a specific target or goal set by the teacher.


Stakeholders – District employees, members of the public at large, students, parents and taxpayers.


Student Achievement– The status of subject-matter knowledge, understandings, and skills at one point in time for a student. Each grade level has learning goals or instructional standards that educators are required to teach. Standards are similar to a 'to-do' list that a teacher can use to guide instruction. Students are measured against expected levels of mastery of these goals or standards. Typical assessments that measure student achievement are standardized assessments such as M-STEP, ACT, and SAT.


Student Growth – A demonstrable change in a student’s learning between two or more points in time. Student growth assessments measure the relative change in a student’s performance on a specific test with the performance of all other students on that same test. The scores of all students are used to create an “index of student growth” and to identify a median achievement score that can be used as a point of comparison for all student scores—i.e., some students will show growth that is greater than the median, while others will show growth that is lower than the median.


Summative Assessments - Assessments that measure student performance at the end of the learning process to determine if students have mastered a particular set of knowledge and skills. Summative assessments are end of chapter assessments, end of unit assessments, end of term assessments, performance assessments.  However, classroom-developed summative assessments are formative in nature if the teacher provides feedback for remediation.