Eligibility for National School Lunch Program: Student eligibility for this program, which provides free or reduced-price lunches, is a commonly used indicator for family poverty. Eligibility information is part of the administrative data kept by schools and is based on parent-reported family income and family size.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): An international organization of 34 countries headquartered in Paris, France. The member countries are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Estonia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States. Among its many activities, the OECD compiles social, economic, and science and technology statistics for all member and selected non-member countries.
Repeating cross-sectional studies: This type of research focuses on how a specific group of students performs in a particular year, and then looks at the performance of a similar group of students at a later point in time. An example would be comparing fourth graders in 1990 to fourth graders in 2011 in NAEP.
Scale score: Scale scores place students on a continuous achievement scale based on their overall performance on the assessment. Each assessment program develops its own scales.
Advanced Placement (AP): Courses that teach college-level material and skills to high school students who can earn college credits by demonstrating advanced proficiency on a final course exam. The curricula and exams for AP courses, available for a wide range of academic subjects, are developed by the College Board.
Elementary schools: Schools that have no grades higher than 8.
High schools: Schools that have at least one grade higher than 8 and no grade in K–6.
Middle schools: Schools that have any of grades 5–8 and no grade lower than 5 and no grade higher than 8.
Professional development: In-service training activities designed to help teachers improve their subject matter knowledge, acquire new teaching skills, and stay informed about changing policies and practices.
Blended learning: Any time a student learns at least in part at a supervised, traditional school location away from home and at least in part through online delivery with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace; often used synonymously with “hybrid learning.”
Distance education: A mode of delivering education and instruction to students who are not physically present in a traditional setting such as a classroom. Also known as “distance learning,” it provides access to learning when the source of information and the learners are separated by time and/or distance.
Online learning: Education in which instruction and content are delivered primarily over the Internet.
GED certificate: This award is received following successful completion of the General Educational Development (GED) test. The GED program, sponsored by the American Council on Education, enables individuals to demonstrate that they have acquired a level of learning comparable to that of high school graduates.
High school completer: An individual who has been awarded a high school diploma or an equivalent credential, including a GED certificate.
High school diploma: A formal document regulated by the state certifying the successful completion of a prescribed secondary school program of studies. In some states or communities, high school diplomas are differentiated by type, such as an academic diploma, a general diploma, or a vocational diploma.
Postsecondary education: The provision of a formal instructional program with a curriculum designed primarily for students who have completed the requirements for a high school diploma or its equivalent. These programs include those with an academic, vocational, or continuing professional education purpose and exclude vocational and adult basic education programs.
Remedial courses: Courses taught within postsecondary education that cover content below the college level.