In every profession there are terms, phrases, and abbreviations that are common knowledge only to insiders. For the rest of us, the lingo can be very confusing. This glossary is intended to offer simple explanations of what are sometimes complex issues in education. It is far from complete but may help you better understand important trends and topics. Bear in mind that the meaning of many of these terms may vary, even from school district to school district.
Remediation is the re-teaching of skills that the child did not master when they were presented in the regular classroom instruction. Students might be remediated in only one or two concepts, such as place value or multiplication in math, or they may need extensive interventions and placement in "below grade-level" books or "exceptional education" classes. (See Grade Level and Special Education.)
In many districts, the resource room is simply a storage space where teacher materials and manipulatives are stored. In other districts, resource rooms are classrooms where children receive special instruction (see Remediation, Special Education). This term in intended to be a catchall phrase that does not tell children which of their peers are enrolled in speech, language, gifted, or remedial programs.
A rubric is the term for the instrument used to grade alternative or performance assessments. (See Alternative Assessment, Authentic Assessment, and Open-Ended Activity.) This is usually a list or chart stating requirements for various levels of performance on a project or in an activity. For example, if the child is studying electricity and the teacher requires a performance assessment, the rubric might state that the child must complete a circuit using two batteries, two bulbs, and wires to create a parallel circuit with two switches. Another example might be a rubric for a child's book report, stating that the child will create a poster about the book, dress in a costume of the main character, present an oral report intended to persuade others to read the book, and compose a three-paragraph summary of the book. The rubric clearly states to what degree the child must perform each step in order to reach a specific grade or level. A rubric can show specific criteria for reaching various levels of achievement on a specific task or skill, from "unsatisfactory" to "excellent."