Glossary A Words


Ability test – assessment of a student's general intellectual functioning compared to a representative sample of same age/grade children (norm-referenced). The results of the assessment may help in the identification of students with exceptionalities. (e.g., gifted education, learning disabilities, or other exceptionalities).

Acceleration – commonly known as "skipping a grade". In fact, there are many different forms such as full grade acceleration, subject acceleration and curriculum compacting. There have been numerous studies (see A Nation Deceived) that advocate for its use with high level learners.

Achievement test – an assessment of what a student knows in academic areas such as math, reading and spelling, based on the expectations of the curriculum or objectives of a course (criterion-referenced) or as compared to a representative sample of same age/grade children (norm-referenced).

Academic level – a level of difficulty of courses offered in secondary school leading to post- secondary education (i.e. university and community college). See also Applied level

Accommodations – special teaching and assessment strategies, human supports, and/or individualized equipment required to enable a student to learn and to demonstrate learning. Accommodations do not alter the provincial curriculum expectations for the grade. (From: The Individual Education Plan (IEP) A Resource Guide 2004; The Ontario Ministry of Education) Accommodations change only the way in which the learning takes place; they do not alter the content of the curriculum or affect the validity or reliability of the tests that assess learning. See also Modification.

Accommodated Only (AC) (as seen on IEP) – term used to identify subjects or courses from the Ontario curriculum in which the student requires accommodations alone in order to work towards achieving the regular grade expectations. (From: The Individual Education Plan (IEP) A Resource Guide 2004; The Ontario Ministry of Education)

Advocacy – speaking or acting in support of ideas and/or persons. ABC Ontario advocates for bright and gifted students through school boards’ Special Education Advisory Committees (SEAC) and the Ministry of Education. ABC Ontario also supports efforts by individuals and families to advocate for bright and gifted learners. As advocates, we strive to promote educational excellence by working cooperatively with families, educators and policy makers.

Alternative (ALT) (as seen on IEP) – term used to identify alternative programs and alternative courses on the IEP form. Alternative expectations are developed to help students obtain knowledge and skills that are not represented in the Ontario curriculum. Because they are not part of a subject or course outlined in the provincial curriculum documents, alternative expectations are considered to make up alternative programs or alternative courses. Examples of alternative programsinclude: speech remediation, social skills, life skills, orientation/mobility training, and personal care programs. Usually, these programs are delivered in additionto modified or regular grade-level expectations from the Ontario curriculum. Alternative programs are provided in both the elementary and the secondary school panels. (From: The Individual Education Plan (IEP): A Resource Guide 2004; The Ontario Ministry of Education)

Appeal – A parent/guardian has the right to request an appeal, in writing, against the decisions of an IPRC with respect to identification and/or placement of an exceptional student. The appeal procedure is an extension of the rights of parents and pupils, as initiated by the IPRC process. The appeal must be made within 30 school days of the IPRC decision.

Applied level – a level of difficulty of courses offered in secondary school leading to direct entry to employment or post-secondary education (i.e. community college). See also Academic level.

Area Support Teacher – A special education teacher assigned to several schools. They help in program strategies and may work directly with students.

Asperger's Syndrome (AS)- a type of autism characterized by impairments in social interactions and the presence of restricted interests and activities, with no clinically significant general delay in language, and testing in the range of average to above average intelligence. Individuals with Asperger's can also be intellectually gifted.

Assessment – collecting information about a student's learning by using a variety of tools such as written tests, observation in class, oral presentations, writing and drawing portfolios. The tests and observations may be for academic, performance, psychological, etc. purposes. The collection of information may be on-going (formative) in the class and/or at the end of a unit, term, or semester (summative). In special education, the term "assessment" may also include a wider range of tests to understand the degree of abilities or limitations that contribute or affect learning, including assessments for hearing, speech and language, fine and gross movements, mobility, etc. See also Evaluation.

Autism - a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life: it is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain. Autism impacts the typical development of the brain in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Children and adults with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities.