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Popular Technical Terms in Secondary Education

Higher Education Articles October 7, 2015

Overview of Secondary Education Terms

To most of us who are past secondary school levels, keeping in touch with the current jargon and technical terms used by secondary school teachers and administrators is hard. The following are some of the most common technical words, often used to describe learning methods and reforms within the education sector.

21st Century Skills

21st Century skills is a term used by most teachers and administrators when referring to the most important skills learners must acquire in today’s highly competitive world. Such skills include developing digital literacy, communication, collaboration skills and problem solving skills.

Authentic Assessment/Evaluation

Authentic evaluation basically incorporates the use of real world projects to gauge concept understanding among secondary school learners. Grades in these activities are mostly based on varying scoring criteria.

Blue Ribbon School

Blue Ribbon schools is a name used by the U.S. Department of Education to highlight and acknowledge schools that immensely help in improving learning qualities and those schools that have been continually achieving over the years.

Cooperative Learning

Cooperative learning, as the name suggests involves students working in groups to help one another in various learning activities designated to them by their teachers. Also, note that this form of learning is increasingly becoming popular and eased by the use of social networks and other Web 2.0 tools.

Differentiating Instructions

This form of learning capitalizes in identifying the appropriate method to meet the student’s needs and work towards achieving the same. The strategy puts into consideration the learner’s strengths, likes and practical decision making abilities.

Learning Styles

This refers to the process whereby, the teacher works to identify the areas a student excels in most, what teaching method was used to achieve the high performance in that area and then adopt the methods used whenever teaching a new concept to the same students. Learning styles in essence helps the learner to master different education materials more efficiently.

Multiple Intelligence

This term was developed by Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner. It acknowledges the importance of underpinning multiple successes in different areas by the student. It includes interpersonal, linguistic, intrapersonal, logic mathematical, visual spatial, naturalist and bodily kinesthetic.

No Child Left Behind

This legislation was passed back in 2001 with the aim of improving school performance. It requires that all schools should apply research based materials and teaching strategies in both class work and exam scenarios.

Portfolio Assessment

This refers to the process whereby teachers collect various students’ work and use it to gauge their mastery of the topics or course taught. The teachers are then able to gauge the success of those students based on an agreed scoring criteria.

Project based Learning

Project based learning involves assigning students problems to solve. It was incorporated into the learning system in order to underpin unit concepts and to allow students to explore topics in a broader manner especially when tackling real world issues.

Race to the top Fund

This fund was founded by the U.S. Department of Education to acknowledge and appreciate efforts made by schools with ambitious and great education reform systems.


Rubrics outline those ways that can be used to assess tests and assignments in a better and direct manner. Rubrics in essence outline the teacher’s criteria for grading that can be applied to forms of subjective learners’ assignments.

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