Vail Glossary of Terms

Balanced Literacy – A framework for organizing literacy instruction that is comprised of these six components: Flexible Ability Reading Groups, Shared Reading, Read Aloud, Read Independently, Spelling & Phonics/Word Work, Writer’s Workshop/6 Traits.

Balanced Math – A framework for organizing math instruction that is comprised of these five components: Math Review, Conceptual Lesson, Problem of the Week, Math Fact Fluency, and Coaching.

Benchmark Assessment – Benchmarks are quarterly district assessments given to all students in second through tenth grade.  All Benchmark Assessments are constructed by Assessment Technology Incorporated (ATI) and are aligned to the Arizona State Academic Standards required for AIMS testing.  Once the data is received for the quarterly Benchmark, we determine the performance of each student, each class and each grade level.  The data from the Benchmarks is analyzed to determine which students are Meeting the Standards, Approaching the Standards, and Falling Far Below the Standards. This data allows us to determine the effectiveness of the curriculum and instruction implemented in the classroom.  Based on quarterly data, teachers are able to modify their instruction to increase student achievement.

DMS (Daily Math Skills) – Students in each class do a three minute practice of the skill they are on, then take a two minute test.  This occurs daily until the class median has reached mastery of the skill.  The class then moves on to the next skill sequence.  The goal of DMS is that students develop stronger accuracy and fluency of math skills necessary at their grade level.

Formative Assessment – A five question multiple choice assessment that is given every one to two weeks on an essential standard that is taught.  This is used to determine whether a student attends a reteach or an enrich class.  These assessments provide immediate feedback to teachers to improve instructional practices.

Reteach and Enrich – A time during the school day when students who have not mastered the district formative assessment in math or reading are re-taught concepts to mastery.  Students who demonstrated mastery of the district formative assessment in math or reading are provided enrich opportunities on those same concepts.

STEEP (System to Enhance Educational Performance) – STEEP is a problem-solving model of assessment that has been developed to bridge the gap between research and practice.  STEEP consists of 4 stages: universal or school-wide screening, class-wide intervention, can’t do/won’t do assessment, and individual intervention. The goal is to identify children who might need assistance to master important academic skills.  When the model is used, it allows the school to use resources more efficiently to help more children. When a school has completed all four stages of STEEP, children are identified who should be considered for special education services based upon an inadequate response to intervention provided through general education and STEEP.  Hence, much of the time that is typically devoted to lengthy pre-referral meetings is reduced.  School psychologists are able to proactively identify children who should be considered for special services and thus, avoid completing lengthy and costly evaluations that are not needed.