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Achievement Gap: The difference in academic performance between ethnic groups.

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP): Is a measure of year-to-year student achievement on statewide assessments. Each state comes up with its own definition on what it means to make AYP. Definitions must answer three questions: the percentage of students that must be proficient or above when tested in reading and mathematics (yearly in grades 3-8 and once in high school); whether or not at least 95 percent of students in those grades participated in the assessments; and, the additional academic indicator (e.g., graduation rates for high schools) that will be measured.

Advanced Placement (AP) Program: A program administered by the College Board that offers rigorous classes that are modeled on comparative college level courses. Students are given an AP exam to measure if they have mastered the coursework and can receive college credit for that course if they receive a high enough score.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA): An act signed into law in February 2009, designed to create and save jobs around the country. Education programs under the act include the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation, Teacher Incentive Fund, State Longitudinal Data Systems, Title I School Improvement Grants, and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Parts B and C.

Annual Measurable Objective (AMO): A goal that a state sets each year to define a minimum percentage of students who must meet or exceed standards on its academic assessments. Each state's AMOs are applied consistently throughout the state for all public schools, districts, and subgroups of students. All students must be proficient in reading/language arts and mathematics by 2013-14.

Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR): A calculation created by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to provide a common metric for calculating a four-year on-time graduation rate across all states. It is a proxy measure for a true cohort longitudinal graduation rate.

Confidence Interval: Confidence intervals constitute a range of statistical values within which a result is expected to fall with a specific probability. If a school misses the AMO, but it falls inside the range of the confidence interval, the school makes adequate yearly progress (AYP). For example, in a school of 1,000 students, 45 percent of students scored at the proficient and advanced level, and the state applied a 95 percent confidence interval. The confidence interval calculation indicated that the actual percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced was between 42 and 48 percent. In this example, if the AMO was 47 percent, the school would have made AYP, even though the actual percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced was below the AMO.

Core Academic Classes: Core academic classes include English, reading/language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) requires core classes to be taught by highly qualifed teachers.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA): Passed as part of Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) provides federal funding to the neediest students and schools. It was reauthorized eight times since 1965. The most recent reauthorization of the ESEA was the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Most of the data on this site is collected as a requirement of the ESEA.

English Learner (EL): An individual who was not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English; or who comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant; or who is an American Indian or Alaska Native and who comes from an environment where a language other than English has had a significant impact on his or her level of English language proficiency; and who, by reason thereof, has sufficient difficulty speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language to deny such individual the opportunity to learn successfully in classrooms where the language of instruction is English or to participate fully in our society.

Free and Reduced Price Lunch Program: A program under the National School Lunch Act that provides cash subsidies for free and reduced-price lunches to students based on family size and income.

Full Academic Year: Each state must define a "full academic year" that constitutes which students received a full year of instruction. Only students who meet the state's full academic year definition are included in a school's proficiency calculations used for adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations. The purpose of this is to hold schools accountable only for those students who receive a full year of instruction. All students, regardless of whether or not they meet the full academic year definition, are included in a school's participation calculations used for AYP determinations.

Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT): To be highly qualified, teachers must have: 1) a bachelor's degree, 2) full state certification or licensure, and 3) prove that they know each subject they teach. States must report what percent of all classes have highly qualified teachers.

Individualized Education Program (IEP): A individualized program for students with disabilities that includes (1) a statement of the child's present levels of education performance, (2) a statement of annual goals, including short-term instructional objectives, (3) a statement of specific education services to be provided and the extent to which the child will be able to participate in regular education programs, (4) a projected date for initiation and anticipated duration of services, and (5) appropriate objectives, criteria, and evaluation procedures and schedules for determining, on at least an annual basis, whether instructional objectives are being achieved.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): A law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.

Limited English Proficient (LEP): The term limited English proficient', when used with respect to an individual, means an individual — (A) who is aged 3 through 21; (B) who is enrolled or preparing to enroll in an elementary school or secondary school; (C)(i) who was not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English; (ii)(I) who is a Native American or Alaska Native, or a native resident of the outlying areas; and (II) who comes from an environment where a language other than English has had a significant impact on the individual's level of English language proficiency; or (iii) who is migratory, whose native language is a language other than English, and who comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant; and (D) whose difficulties in speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language may be sufficient to deny the individual — (i) the ability to meet the State's proficient level of achievement on State assessments described in section 1111(b)(3); (ii) the ability to successfully achieve in classrooms where the language of instruction is English; or (iii) the opportunity to participate fully in society.

Local Educational Agency (LEA): The local agency overseeing schools, typically a district or county.

Migrant Students: The Office of Migrant Education at the U.S. Department of Education administers grant programs that provide academic and supportive services to the children of families who migrate to find work in the agricultural and fishing industries.

Minimum Group Size (n-size): Each state must define the minimum number of students (n-size) required in a subgroup for proficiency and reporting purposes, and apply these definitions consistently across the state. The purpose of the n-size is to ensure that the results on which AYP determinations are based are valid and reliable and not due to minor fluctuations in the data due to very small sample sizes. The n-size for reporting helps to maintain the confidentiality of individual students.

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP): NAEP is the only nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subjects. States who receive Title I funding must participate in the state NAEP every two years in reading and mathematics at grades 4 and 8. These required assessments allow states to monitor their own progress over time and compare the knowledge and skills of their students with students in specific states and with those across the nation. State participation in other state NAEP subjects, including science and writing, remains voluntary.

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES): Part of the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences, NCES is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education.

Poverty Quartile: States must divide all their schools into four groups, or quartiles, based on their poverty rankings. Through this, they can identify the schools in the lowest poverty quartile and highest poverty quartile. States must report on the percent of core academic classes taught by highly qualifed teachers for low poverty school (those in the lowest poverty quartile) and high poverty schools (those in the highest poverty quartile).

Public School Choice: If a school is identified for school improvement, corrective action or restructuring, a district must provide all students in the school the option to transfer to another public school or public charter school.

Quintile: In statistics, a quintile for the case where the sample or population is divided into fifths.

Safe Harbor: Safe harbor is a provision in the ESEA intended for schools and districts that are making progress in student achievement but are not yet meeting target goals for adequate yearly progress (AYP). Safe harbor provides an alternative for a school to meet AYP if the percentage of non-proficient students in the group(s) that did not reach the state's annual measurable objective (AMO) decreased by 10 percentage points from the previous school year; the group(s) made progress on the state's other academic indicator; and the group(s) had at least 95 percent participation on the state assessment.

Schools in Need of Improvement (SINI): Schools that miss adequate yearly progress (AYP) for two years or more are identified for improvement and states are required to take steps to address the reasons why the schools was identified. There are five stages of improvement: Improvement Year 1, Improvement Year 2, Corrective Action, Restructuring - Planning, and Restructuring - Implementation.

State Education Agency (SEA): An SEA is typically the state department of education or the department of public instruction.

Supplemental Educational Services (SES): SES are academic services which are in addition to instruction provided during the school day. Services are designed to increase the academic achievement of students in schools in the second year of improvement, or in corrective action, or restructuring. These services may include tutoring, remediation or other supplemental academic services.

Title I School: An elementary or secondary school that receives Title I, Part A funds. Title I funds generally support schools in meeting the educational goals of low-income students.

Title III: The Title III program is designed to improve the education of limited English proficient (LEP) children and youths by helping them learn English and meet challenging state academic content and student academic achievement standards. The program provides enhanced instructional opportunities for immigrant children and youths. Funds are distributed to states based on a formula that takes into account the number of immigrant and LEP students in each state.