• Frequently Used Educational Terms 
    Here are a list of terms used frequently by teachers. Some of these are assessments your child takes in school, some are general education terms, and some are programs we do in third grade.  Hopefully, you will find this list helpful with understanding home/school communication.
    General Terms
    • PSSA Test (Pennsylvania State Standardized Assessment) - Starting in third grade students take this test in March or April each year. Third graders take the test in both math and reading. There are 3 math and 3 reading sections on the PSSA test. Typically, it takes us four or five days to take the entire test.
    • Common Core Standards-The Common Core standards were created to ensure consistency of the material being taught in classrooms across the country. They provide an outline of what students need to know in various subjects in different grade levels. More and more schools are moving towards instructing based on the Common Core standards.
    • State Standards and Eligible Content - The state standards and eligible content give teachers, parents, and students an outline of what children need to know in various subjects at various grade levels. The material that we teach in class is based off of the standards and eligible content. These different from the Common Core Standards because they were designed for Pennsylvania schools.
    • Below Basic - The lowest score on the PSSA.
    • Basic - The next to lowest score on the PSSA.
    • Proficient - The second highest score on the PSSA.
    • Advanced - The highest score on the PSSA.
    Reading Terms
    • Independent Reading Level - The reading level where your child can read a piece of text so that it is read fast, with expression, and fluently. Your child should be reading books on his/her independent reading level whenever he/she is reading alone. 100 Book Challenge books are on a child's independent level.
    • Instructional Reading Level -  The instructional reading level is the level your child is reading at with teacher support. It is higher or a more difficult level than the independent reading level. During guided reading your child receives lessons based on his/her instructional level and is grouped with other children on the same or similar reading level.
    • Fluency - Fluency is a term used for what reading sounds like. Fluency includes the speed (or rate) of reading, expression while reading, and accuracy of reading the words written.  
    • DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment) - A reading test given to your child in January and in May. It provides the teacher with your child's instructional reading level. It provides a score which translates into a certain level of book. Both fluency and comprehension are tested by the DRA test. By the end of third grade the goal is for students to have a DRA level of 38 or 40.
    • DIBLES - DIBLES TEST IS NOT BEING USED DURING THE 2012-2013 SCHOOL YEAR. A reading test that assesses how fluently your child reads. The goal by the end of third grade is for your child to be able to correctly read 112 words in one minute.
    • 100 Book Challenge - 100 Book Challenge allows for students to read at home and at school daily on their independent level.  When your child reads for 100 Book Challenge the books should be fun, fast, and easy. Your child should know all but one or two words on a page and should read the words quickly and easily. (If you notice your child struggling please let me know so I can reassess his/her level.) The books are leveled by using a colored - coded system (yellow, yellow/yellow, green, green/green, blue, blue/blue, red, red/red, white, black, orange, purple). The goal by the end of third grade is for students to be white or black color readers.
      Sight Words - Sight words are words that students should be able to read quickly just by looking at the word. Sight words should not, and often cannot, be sounded out.  
    Math Terms
    • Basic Facts - Basic facts are assessed daily with Xtra Math. Any one digit by one digit adding, subtraction, multiplication, or division problem is a basic fact. (Examples - 4+9=13, 18-9=9, 5x3=15, etc) Basic facts should be memorized and students SHOULD NOT use their fingers to find the answer. By the end of third grade, students must have mastered basic addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts. If your child is struggling with memorizing the basic facts please ask me for some ways he/she can practice these facts. I have lots of different ways to practice and we do not have much time in our school day to aide in memorizing the facts.
    • Xtra Math - Xtra Math is the assessment used to determine how well students have memorized their basic facts. It is a web-based computer program so it can be done at home, too. It starts with addition and then moves on to subtraction, multiplication, and division. This program allows for students to receive immediate feedback on whether they answered a question correctly or incorrectly. In addition, a chart is provided that allows students to know which facts they have mastered and which still need memorized.
    • Prodigy - A math computer program for students. The questions on Prodigy closely align with the math questions asked on the PSSA test.  This is an interent-based  program so your child can access it on home computers. He/She will need the login and password information. Just let me know if you need it! 

    • Zearn - Zearn is a math computer program that students do 2 days a week for approximately 20 minutes. If you need your child's login information please let me know.