top of page



In education, as in most specialized professions, educators use terms that may be unfamiliar to the general public. For example, most people associate the ABCs with the alphabet and having pep with energy. But if an educator uses these terms, they take on a new meaning. It's not surprising that parents and others new to public schools often feel confused.

This list of the more commonly used acronyms or abbreviations and their meanings has been developed to assist everyone in public schools communicate more effectively.


The ABCs of Public Education is North Carolina's comprehensive plan to improve public schools. The plan is based on three goals: 1) strong accountability, "A," 2) mastery of basic skills, "B" and 3) localized control, "C." The ABCs was implemented in 1996-97. The model focuses on schools meeting growth expectations for student achievement as well as on the overall percentage of students who score at or above grade level. The model uses end-of-grade tests in grades 3-8 in reading and mathematics to measure growth at the elementary and middle school levels and end-of-course tests to measure growth at the high school level and at the middle school level where appropriate.



Accountability and Curriculum Revision Effort. This describes all of the work underway by the NCDPI to implement the recommendations contained in the State Board of Education's "Framework for Change: The Next Generation of Assessments and Accountability" document. This document describes a new vision of the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, student testing, and district and school accountability.

American College Test. An assessment taken by students as a precursor to college/university admission.



Average Daily Membership. The number of days a student is in membership at a school divided by the number of days in a school month or school year.



Annual Measurable Objectives are annual targets for the percentage of students whose test scores demonstrate proficiency on End-of-Course (EOC) and End-of-Grade (EOG) tests. 


In 2012, North Carolina was one of several states granted a No Child Left Behind flexibility waiver from the U.S. Department of Education.  The waiver shifts the way school districts measure student achievement. Schools will no longer be measured by whether they met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Instead of meeting or failing to meet AYP, schools will be evaluated based on the number of Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO), or targets, students meet in each measurable subgroup.



Advanced Placement. A program that enables high school students to complete college-level courses for college placement and/or credit.



Adequate Yearly Progress. All public schools, in North Carolina and throughout the country, must measure and report AYP as outlined in the federal No Child Left Behind law. AYP measures the yearly progress of different groups of students at the school, district and state levels against yearly targets in reading and mathematics. Target goals are set for attendance and graduation rates as well. If a school misses one target, it does not make AYP.  Last year for AYP: 2011




Common Core State Standards. CCSS are a set of shared, Kindergarten through 12th grade national standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics.  The Common Core standards will allow teachers to develop students’ understanding of the content on a deeper level by focusing on the most vital concepts.  The Common Core standards also provide a more logical progression of skills that spiral and build in complexity from one grade level to the next.  



Comprehensive Exceptional Children Accountability System. A secure Web-based student information system for exceptional children that supports online case management, compliance monitoring, data analysis, and federal and state reporting requirements.



English Language Learner. Student whose first language is one other than English and who needs language assistance to participate fully in the regular curriculum.



End-of-Course. Tests designed to assess the competencies defined by the NC SCOS for each of the following courses: Algebra I, Algebra II, English I, Biology, Chemistry, Geometry, Physical Science, Physics, Civics and Economics, and U.S. History. Tests are taken during the last two weeks of school for students on a traditional calendar and the last week for students on the block schedule and summer school students.



End-of-Grade. Tests in reading and mathematics that are taken by students in grades 3-8 during the last three weeks of the school year.



Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This is the principal federal law affecting K-12 education. When the ESEA of 1965 was reauthorized and amended in 2002, it was renamed the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.



English as a Second Language. A program model that delivers specialized instruction to students who are learning English as a new language.



Free and Reduced Priced Lunch. Children qualify, based upon parent or guardian financial status, to receive either free or reduced priced lunch through a federal governmental program.



Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This federal law, reauthorized in 2004, is designed to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free and appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living.



Individualized Education Program. The IEP is a written statement for a student with a disability that is developed, at least annually, by a team of professionals knowledgeable about the student and the parent. The plan describes the strengths of the child and the concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child, and when, where, and how often services will be provided. The IEP is required by federal law for all exceptional children and must include specific information about how the student will be served and what goals he or she should be meeting.



IDEA Proficiency Test. Test used to determine the appropriate assessment for limited English proficient students.



Local Education Agency. Synonymous with a local school system or a local school district, indicating that a public board of education or other public authority maintains administrative control of the public schools in a city or county.



Limited English Proficient. Students whose first language is one other than English who need language assistance to participate fully in the regular curriculum and the statewide assessment system.



National Assessment of Educational Progress. Also known as the "Nation's Report Card," NAEP assesses the educational achievement of elementary and secondary students in various subject areas. It provides data for comparing the performance of students in North Carolina to that of their peers in the nation.



The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. The NCDPI administers the policies adopted by the State Board of Education and offers instructional, financial, technological and personnel support to all public school systems in the state.



North Carolina Essential Standards. NCES are the content area standards developed specific to North Carolina.  While Common Core State Standards include only English Language Arts and Mathematics, North Carolina has created Essential Standards for all other subject areas.  The Essential Standards are aligned with Common Core Literacy Standards and professional development is being provided for teachers in integrating these literacy skills across all content areas including:


North Carolina Window of Information for Student Education. This secure Web-based tool provides educators with direct and immediate access to a full spectrum of data on a student's entire career in the North Carolina schools.



The North Carolina Checklist of Academic Standards is an alternate assessment designed to measure grade-level competencies of students identified as limited English proficient and some students with disabilities.



The North Carolina EXTEND2 is an alternate assessment designed to measure grade-level competencies of students with disabilities using modified achievement standards in a simplified multiple choice format.



The North Carolina EXTEND1 is an alternate assessment designed to measure the performance of students with significant cognitive disabilities using alternate achievement standards.



North Carolina High School Comprehensive Tests of Reading and Mathematics for Grade 10. This is a multiple-choice test designed to assess the English language arts and mathematics competencies a student should have mastered by the end of the 10th grade. Most North Carolina students now take English I and Algebra I end-of-course assessments and the Grade 10 Writing Assessment instead of the NCHSCT. The NCHSCT are used only to assess students who are following a course of study that does not require them to take the English I or Algebra I end-of-course assessments or the Grade 10 Writing Assessment.



No Child Left Behind. NCLB is the 2002 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and represents a sweeping change in the federal government's role in local public education. NCLB's primary goal is for all public school children to be proficient or above in reading and mathematics by 2013-14. Title I schools that do not meet certain student achievement standards face sanctions under this law.



Personalized Education Plan. An individualized educational plan designed to improve a student's performance to grade-level proficiency.



Principals' Executive Program. This preparation program for principals provides relevant and rigorous professional development opportunities based on the best current theories and practices.



Pre-Scholastic Assessment Test. Normally taken by high school juniors as a practice test for the SAT. Some schools use the PSAT as a diagnostic tool to identify areas where students may need additional assistance or placement in more rigorous courses.



Student Accountability Standards. Statewide standards North Carolina public schools students are required to meet as one consideration for promotion from grades 3, 5 and 8 and high school graduation.



The SAT is often taken by high school juniors and seniors as a precursor to college/university admission. It assesses a student's verbal, mathematical and writing skills.



State Board of Education. The State Board of Education is charged with supervising and administering "the free public school system and the educational funds provided for its support." The Board consists of the Lieutenant Governor, the Treasurer, and eleven members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the General Assembly in Joint Session.



North Carolina Standard Course of Study. The NC SCOS is the guiding document outlining what should be taught in North Carolina public school classrooms.



State Education Agency. Federal term for each state education department. SEA is another name for NCDPI.



Student Information Management System. SIMS is a state-level warehouse of student information (for example, attendance, course information, and other data that must be reported on a state and federal level). This system is currently being replaced by NC WISE.



School Improvement Plan. A plan that includes strategies for improving student performance, how and when improvements will be implemented, use of state funds, requests for waivers, etc. Plans are in effect for no more than three years.



Transportation Information Management System. The computer system used by North Carolina school districts for routing and scheduling school buses to ensure safe and efficient bus routes.



Title I
Title I is the largest federal education funding program for schools. Its aim is to help students who are behind academically or at risk of falling behind. School funding is based on the number of low-income children, generally those eligible for the free and reduced price lunch program. Many of the major requirements in the No Child Left Behind federal law are outlined in Title I – Adequate Yearly Progress, teacher and paraprofessional standards, accountability, sanctions for schools designated for improvement, standards and assessments, annual state report cards, professional development and parent involvement. Title I used to be known as Chapter I.



Title III
Title III is the section of No Child Left Behind that provides funding and addresses English language acquisition and standards and accountability requirements for limited English proficient students.



Title IX
Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 bans sex discrimination in schools receiving federal funds, whether it is in academics or athletics.

  • Social Studies

  • World Languages

  • Arts Education

  • Healthful Living

  • Guidance

  • Instructional and Technology Skills

  • Occupational Course of Study

  • English Language Development

  • Career and Technical Education

bottom of page