Teacher Education Glossary

Accreditation- A process for assessing and enhancing academic and educational quality through voluntary peer review. National accreditation informs the public that an institution has a professional education school that has met state and professional standards of educational quality.

Advanced Preparation- Programs at post-baccalaureate levels for (1) the continuing education of teachers who have previously completed initial preparation or (2) the preparation of other professional school personnel. Advanced preparation programs commonly award graduate credit and include masters, specialist, and doctoral degree programs as well as non-degree licensure programs offered at the graduate level.

Alternate Route to State Licensure Programs- Post-baccalaureate programs designed for individuals who did not prepare as educators during their undergraduate studies. These programs are designed to meet shortages. Candidates may be employed as educators while enrolled.  Examples include Teacher In Residence programs.

Assessment System- A comprehensive and integrated set of evaluation measures that provides information for use in monitoring candidate performance and managing and improving unit operations and programs for the preparation of professional educators.

Benchmark- A description or example of candidate or institutional performance that serves as a standard of comparison for evaluation or judging quality.

Candidate Performance Data- Information derived from assessments of candidate proficiencies, in areas of teaching and effects on student learning, candidate knowledge, and dispositions. Candidate performance data may be derived from a wide variety of sources, such as projects, essays or tests demonstrating subject content mastery; employer evaluations; state licensure tests; and mentoring year "portfolios" as well as assessments, projects, reflections, clinical observations, and other evidence of pedagogical and professional teaching proficiencies.

Candidates- Individuals admitted to, or enrolled in, programs for the initial or advanced preparation of teachers, teachers continuing their professional development, or other professional school personnel. Candidates are distinguished from "students" in P-12 schools.

Clinical Faculty- School (P-12) and higher education faculty responsible for instruction, supervision, and assessment of candidates during field experience and clinical practice.

Clinical Practice- Student teaching or internships that provide candidates with an intensive and extensive culminating activity. Candidates are immersed in the learning community and are provided opportunities to develop and demonstrate competence in the professional roles for which they are preparing.

Content Knowledge - The subject matter or discipline that teachers are being prepared to teach at the elementary, middle level, and/or secondary levels (e.g., special education, early childhood, psychology, reading, or school administration) for advance degrees.

Content Standards- Written expectations for meeting a specified level of performance. Standards exist for the content that P-12 students should know at a certain age or grade level.

Cooperating Teachers - Licensed practitioners in P-12 schools who provide instruction, supervision, and direction for candidates during field-based assignments.

Curriculum- Courses, experiences, and assessments necessary to prepare candidates to teach or work with students at a specific age level and/or to teach a specific subject area.

Distance Learning- A formal educational process in which the major portion of the instruction occurs when the learner and the instructor are not in the same place at the same time.

Diversity - Differences among groups of people and individuals including, but not limited to, national origin, ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, sex, exceptionalities, language, religion, sexual orientation, and transgender status.

Elements of Standards- The major components of each standard that are described in the rubrics and explanations that accompany the standards. The Elements of the Standards are defined in CCHE’s Teacher Education Policy, Attachment A.  The State Review teams will look for evidence that the unit and its programs address the elements. 

Exceptionalities- A physical, mental, or emotional condition, including gifted/talented abilities, that requires individualized instruction and/or other educational support or services.

Field Experiences- A variety of early and ongoing field-based opportunities in which candidates may observe, assist, tutor, instruct, and/or conduct research. Field experiences may occur in off-campus settings such as schools, community centers, or homeless shelters.

General Education Knowledge- Theoretical and practical understanding usually expected of a liberally educated person. General education includes developing knowledge related to the arts, communications, history, literature, mathematics, philosophy, sciences, and the social studies, from multicultural and global perspectives.

Governance- The system and structure for defining policy, providing leadership, and managing and coordinating the procedures and resources that ensure the quality of all school personnel prepared at the institution.

Higher Education Faculty- Full-time or part-time employees of an institution of higher education.

Information Technology - Computer hardware and software, voice, data, network, satellite and other telecommunications technologies; and multimedia and application development tools. These technologies are used for the input, storage, processing, and communication of information.

Initial Teacher Preparation- Programs at baccalaureate or post baccalaureate levels that prepare candidates for the first license to teach.

Institutional Report- A report that provides the institutional and unit contexts, a description of the unit's conceptual framework, and evidence that the unit is meeting the NCATE unit standards. The report serves as primary documentation for Board of Examiners teams conducting on-site visits. (See the Handbook for Continuing Accreditation Visits or the Handbook for Initial Accreditation Visits for details.)

Internship- Generally, the post-licensure and/or graduate clinical practice under the supervision of clinical faculty; sometimes refers to the pre-service clinical experience.

Licensure- The official recognition by Colorado Department of Education that an individual has met certain qualifications specified by the state of Colorado and is, therefore, approved to practice in an occupation as a professional.

Other Professional School Personnel- Educators who provide professional services other than teaching in schools. They include, but are not limited to, principals, reading specialists and supervisors, school library media specialists, school psychologists, school superintendents, and instructional technology specialists.

Pedagogical Content Knowledge- The interaction of the subject matter and effective teaching strategies to help students learn the subject matter. It requires a thorough understanding of the content as a prerequisite.

Pedagogical Knowledge- The general concepts, theories, and research about effective teaching, regardless of content areas.

Performance Model- A comprehensive assessment system through which candidates demonstrate their proficiencies in subject, professional, and pedagogical knowledge, skills, and abilities to have positive effects on student learning. 

Performance-based Licensing- Licensing based on a system of multiple assessments that measure a teacher candidate's knowledge, skills, and dispositions to determine whether he/she can perform effectively as a teacher or in another school specialty.  The State Board of Education has adopted eight licensure standards that each candidate must meet to earn a Colorado teaching license.

Performance-based Program- A professional preparation program that systematically gathers, analyzes, and uses data for self-improvement and candidate advisement, especially data that demonstrate candidate proficiencies, including positive effects on student learning.  Colorado has six performance-based standards for program approval and review.

Performance Criteria- Descriptions or rubrics that specify qualities or levels of candidate proficiency that are used to evaluate performance, specifically Acceptable, Non-acceptable, and On Target.

Performance Data- Data that documents the qualities and levels of proficiency of candidates, measured by the six statutory program performance standards. 

Policymakers- Representatives of public and governmental agencies with public education responsibility at the national, state, and local levels to define teacher education policy.  In Colorado, this refers to the General Assembly, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, and the State Board of Education.

Portfolio- An accumulation of evidence about individual proficiencies, especially in relation to explicit standards and rubrics, used in evaluation of competency as a teacher or in another professional school role. Contents might include end-of-course evaluations and tasks used for instructional or clinical experience purposes such as projects, journals, and observations by faculty, videos, comments by cooperating teachers or internship supervisors, and samples of student work.

Professional Development Schools- Specially structured schools in which the P-12 school and higher education faculty collaborate to (1) provide practicum, student teaching, and internship experiences; (2) support and enable the professional development of school and higher education faculty; (3) support and enable inquiry directed at the improvement of practice; and (4) support and enhance student achievement. PDSs require the institutional commitment of colleges and universities, school districts, and teachers' organizations.

Professional Education Faculty- Those individuals employed by a college or university, including graduate teaching assistants, who teach one or more courses in education, provide services to candidates (e.g., advising), supervise clinical experiences, or administer some portion of the unit.

Professional Knowledge- The historical, economic, sociological, philosophical, and psychological understandings of schooling and education. It includes knowledge about learning, diversity, technology, professional ethics, legal and policy issues, pedagogy, and the roles and responsibilities of the profession of teaching.  Also referred to as Pedagogical Content Knowledge.

Proficiencies- Required knowledge, skills, or dispositions identified in the state standards.

Program- A planned sequence of courses and experiences for preparing P-12 teachers and other professional school personnel. A student who completes an approved program is recommended for state license in a particular endorsement or specialty area.

Program Approval- Process by which the Colorado Commission on Higher Education reviews a degree program to determine if it meets the state's standards for the preparation of school personnel.

Rubrics- Written and shared criteria for judging performance that indicate the qualities by which levels of performance can be differentiated, and that anchor judgments about the degree of success on a candidate assessment.

School Partners- P-12 schools that collaborate with the higher education institution in designing, developing, and implementing field experiences, clinical practice, delivery of instruction, and research.

Skills- The ability to use content, professional, and pedagogical knowledge effectively and readily in diverse teaching settings in a manner that ensures that all students are learning.

State Approval- C.R.S. (Colorado Revised Statute) 23-1-121.1 requires professional education programs within a state to meet specified standards defined by the Commission – these standards address quality of the learning experience defined by six standards.

State Director of Professional Licensing in Education- Colorado Department of Education individual responsible for administering policies related to licensing of teachers, administrators and other school personnel (Dorothy Gotleib, Colorado Department of Education).

State Program Approval- Process by which Colorado Commission on Higher Education in consultation with State Board of Education reviews a professional education program to determine if it meets the state's standards for the preparation of school personnel.  In Colorado, each approved program must be review at least once each five years. 

State Program Approval Standards- The standards adopted by the Commission – the state agency responsible for the approval of programs that prepare teachers and other school personnel – including admission, counseling, content knowledge, field experience, assessment and mastery of teaching skills.  College and university programs must meet state standards in order to admit candidates to those programs.

State Program Review- The Commission in consultation with the State Board of Education reviews the quality each approved program every five-years. 

Student Teaching- Pre-service clinical practice for candidates preparing to teach.

Technology, Use of- What candidates must know and understand about information technology in order to use it in working effectively with students and professional colleagues in the (1) delivery, development, prescription, and assessment of instruction; (2) problem solving; (3) school and classroom administration; (4) educational research; (5) electronic information access and exchange; and (6) personal and professional productivity.