In Pt. 2 of this listing, I will include acronyms often found in the school environment:
KWL: This one refers to the chart teachers make to explore ‘K’ – what they already (think they) know, ‘W’ – what they want to learn, and ‘L’ – what they learned over the course of the study or unit. Now that, post-CCSS, we are having discussions around whether, in fact we ought to be ‘activating prior knowledge’ at all, it’s worth looking at a more detailed set of columns in which yes, we briefly ask the W questions, then as we go along, assess whether the things we thought we knew turned out to be correct, or a “misconception” – we are often not “wrong”, but uninformed or misinformed, and reading, researching or experimenting can redirect us. Then finally we can describe what our new learning looks like, and even where we want to go next.
SWBAT – ‘Students/Scholars will be able to’. . .’ meaning that by the end of the unit, the students will be able to demonstrate mastery of whatever has been taught.
This appears on the white boards posted near the entrance to every classroom where teachers are required to post the learning goals for that specific day’s or unit’s lessons, under each subject. Further, if an administrator were to walk around asking the children what they are doing today, they are supposed to reply with that same purpose. This becomes rather hilarious at the K level, when kids might be ‘comparing and contrasting the lifestyles of the Sioux and the Wampanoag tribes’ but actually think they’re making a paper cone into a tipi.
Other examples might state:
"SWBAT test for divisibility by using a calculator," in one fifth-grade classroom.
"SWBAT identify the main ideas and supporting details from the text," on another.
"SWBAT find missing numbers on a grid," this month's grade three message.
It also plays havoc with differentiated instruction, when children may already have mastered a skill while others are nowhere near reaching it, and yet they all go lock step.
WYTIWYG, otherwise known as Witty-wig. 'What You Test Is What You Get.' This isn’t so familiar, but I found it in the remarkable new book, “Readicide: How schools are killing reading and what you can do about it”, by Kelly Gallagher. Coined by Jim Cox, the testing Director for the Anaheim school district, it refers to the fact that ‘students immersed in massive test prep classes receive massive amounts of shallow instruction.’ A useful example would be the apparent superiority of Success Network Charter schools in the recent test scores. An insider at the schools describes how every last minute is devoted to test prep, from early morning to extended day.
http://dianeravitch.net/2013/10/04/mole-in-success-academy-speaks/ If this is all they do, small wonder their scores are apparently high. But is that really a true measure of an ‘enriched learning environment’, offering students’ substantial advantages over their Public School peers?
As a bonus collection of acronyms used in DOE-speak, I offer the following: an entire paragraph from the DOE website which usefully contains many acronyms, and actually translates them! It’s also a rather interesting account of an increase in CTE’s , which I discussed in my article: http://www.examiner.com/article/real-world-engagement-vs-test-prep
"On September 12, 2013, the New York City Department of Education ("DOE")
issued an Educational Impact Statement ("EIS") describing a proposal to open
and co-locate 26Q315, a new district Career and Technical Education ("CTE")
early college and career high school, in school building Q435 ("Q435")
located at 230-17 Hillside Avenue, Queens, NY 11427 within the geographical
confines of Community School District 26 ("District 26"). CTE programs
integrate academic study with workforce skills in specific career clusters.
Students receive instruction in an industry-related area and have the
opportunity to graduate high school with industry-specific competencies and
skills that lead to postsecondary education, further industry training
and/or entry into the workforce. The early college program is designed to
give students the opportunity to earn an Associate's degree free of charge,
and to put them on a postsecondary pathway potentially leading to
career-track employment within the Computer Science and Business Technology
industry. The proposed new high school, 26Q315, will offer CTE programming
in the Computer Science and Business Technology career cluster, as described
in more detail below, as well as early college programming. If this proposal
is approved, 26Q315 will be co-located in building Q435 with Martin Van
Buren High School (26Q435, "Van Buren"), an existing high school serving
students in ninth through twelfth grade. Additionally, there is a community
based organization ("CBO"), A.C.E. (Adult and Continuing Education Program), and a District 75 ("D75") Hearing Education Services ("HES") program located in Q435. A "co-location” means that two or more school organizations are located in the same building and may share common spaces like auditoriums, gymnasiums, and cafeterias."