Glossary of Terms

Ability Level
The estimated level of a person's academic potential. May also be used or referred to as IQ (Intelligence Quotient) or aptitude (i.e. one's capability to learn or succeed in an academic setting).

Accommodations (best practices definition; also called adaptations or strategies)
Refers to a change in presentation, response format, environmental setting, or length of time needed to complete a task. This change does not alter the scoring or purpose of the task. Many accommodations are used every day on a regular basis in the classroom or workplace. Many teachers consider it to be good teaching strategies.

Accommodations (legal definition)
Any change to a classroom or work environment or task that permits an individual with a documented disability to participate in the classroom or work process, to perform the essential tasks of the class or workplace, or to enjoy benefits and privileges of classroom/workplace participation equal to those enjoyed by learners without disabilities.

Achievement Level
The academic skills attained in reading, mathematics, and written expression. Achievement level is identified by formal standardized achievement tests or informal criterion referenced tests to identify specific mastery of skills.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
A federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. It applies to employers, public services, public access, communication providers, and transportation providers regardless of whether or not they receive or benefit from federal funding.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
A neurobiological disorder that is diagnosed by qualified professionals (typically licensed psychologists and medical physicians) and manifests itself by specific behavior traits, which may include inattention (distractibility), impulsivity, and/or hyperactivity present in a variety of settings.

Auditory Processing Deficit
Auditory processing is the ability to interpret and understand information that is presented orally. Can they remember what they hear? Do they understand what they hear? A deficit is present if this ability significantly interferes with one's ability to function effectively, despite normal hearing.

A learning disability in math (computation, word problems, reasoning).

A learning disability in writing (punctuation, capitalization, usage, writing proper sentences, and/or paragraphs).

A learning disability in reading (decoding, comprehension, and fluency).

Educational or Academic Evaluation
A process of gathering information for the identification of specific strengths and weaknesses so that an appropriate instructional program can be planned for a student. An evaluation is also referred to as an Assessment.

Individual Educational Plan (IEP)
An Individual Educational Plan is a written legal document for a student with a documented disability that outlines a specially designed program developed by a team. The plan includes the student's needs, goals, measurable objectives, accommodations, present levels of performance, and level of service.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
A federal law requiring public schools to make available to all eligible children with disabilities a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment to meet their needs.

Information Processing
The procedure the brain uses to receive, store, recall, and retrieve information. The brain takes in and manages information through different modalities. The modalities are tactile (touch), kinesthetic (movement), auditory (hearing), and visual (sight).

Learning Disability (LD)
A life-long neurobiological disorder which causes a person to have trouble storing, processing and producing information because the brain functions differently.

A change in the format of a test or assignment so that it no longer measures the original level or purpose of the task or test. It may involve content or level changes.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
A federal law that prohibits discrimination based on disability in programs conducted by Federal agencies, in programs receiving Federal financial assistance, in Federal employment, and in the employment practices of Federal contractors.

Special Educational Services
Classroom or private instruction involving techniques, exercises, and subject matter designed for students whose learning needs cannot be met by a standard school curriculum. Schools have established criteria and procedures to qualify students to Special Educational Services.

Standardized Tests
Instruments designed to be administered, scored, and interpreted in the same way no matter when, where, or by whom it is administered. The sample group (or norm) from which the scoring standards are derived is carefully selected to represent the population.

Visual Processing Deficit
Visual processing involves how well a person can see visual information. Can they visualize things in their head? Can they remember what they see? Can they discriminate shapes and distinguish figure from background?