The Glossary of Higher Ed

All the terms that matter in post-secondary education

Educational terms beginning with letter “A”

  • Ability Grouping

    What is Ability Grouping Ability grouping is the practice of grouping learners together based on their strengths and…

    Read more
  • Above-Level Testing

    What is Above-Level Testing Above-level testing was developed in the early twentieth century by Dr. Leta Hollingworth,…

    Read more
  • Absolute Grading

    Absolute grading is a mode of grading where grades are given based on predetermined cutoff levels. Here, each point…

    Read more
  • Academic Achievement

    Academic achievement describes academic outcomes that indicate the extent to which a student has achieved their learning…

    Read more
  • Academic Advisor

    Academic advisor is someone in a professional position at an institution who may guide prospective and current students…

    Read more
  • Academic Affairs

    Academic affairs is the institutional office that oversees a variety of academic programs and departments at a school.…

    Read more
  • Academic Benchmarks

    Academic benchmarks involve setting measurable standards for evaluating one’s learning. Academic benchmarks may be set…

    Read more
  • Academic Freedom

    Academic freedom is where faculty and students can engage in progressive debate without fearing interference or…

    Read more
  • Academic Hold

    An academic hold is a type of restriction imposed by a school to prevent students from enrolling in classes or gaining…

    Read more
  • Academic Literacy

    Academic literacy is the ability to understand and contextualize the academic vocabulary required in post-secondary…

    Read more
  • Academic Press

    Academic press, sometimes referred to as a university press, is a publishing house associated with a post-secondary…

    Read more
  • Academic Rigor

    What is Academic Rigor Academic Rigor is generally regarded as three different steps in the educational process. The…

    Read more
  • Accelerated Learning

    Accelerated learning is a learning format that allows students to complete courses in a shorter period of time compared…

    Read more
  • Accreditation

    Accreditation is a recognition awarded to schools that maintain a certain educational standard. The goal of the…

    Read more
  • Accuplacer

    Accuplacer is a testing system used to determine whether post-secondary students are academically prepared to take…

    Read more
  • Achievement Gap

    Achievement gap describes a significant difference in academic outcomes or educational attainment between diverse groups…

    Read more
  • Achievement Test

    What is an Achievement Test An Achievement test is an assessment of developed knowledge or skill. The most common type…

    Read more
  • Action Research

    Action research encompasses research methods used to evaluate, investigate and analyze weaknesses within academia.…

    Read more
  • Active Learning

    Active learning is a pedagogical technique coined by professors Charles Bonwell and James Eison in their 1991 book…

    Read more
  • Adaptive Learning

    Adaptive learning is a teaching and learning method that uses computer algorithms to coordinate the interaction with…

    Read more
  • Administrative Hold

    An administrative hold is a type of restriction imposed on students by their institution for a variety of infractions.…

    Read more
  • Affective Domain

    The affective domain is one of the three domains in Bloom’s Taxonomy. It involves feelings, attitudes, and emotions.

    Read more
  • Agile Learning

    Agile learning is a method which uses incremental steps that alternate between phases of learning and completing work…

    Read more
  • Assessment Tools

    Assessment tools are techniques used to measure a student's academic abilities, fluency and skills in a specific subject…

    Read more
  • Associate Dean

    Associate dean is the title given to those who report to and are responsible to the dean for specific administrative…

    Read more
  • Associate Professor

    Associate professor is the title given to someone who has achieved tenure. One rank above assistant professors, this…

    Read more
  • Associate Provost

    Associate provost is the umbrella term for academic administrators within a variety of departments at a university.…

    Read more
  • At Risk Student

    An at-risk student describes a student or groups of students who are likely to fail or drop out of their school. Grades,…

    Read more

Educational terms beginning with letter “B”

  • Backward Design

    Backward design is a method of educational curriculum design that sets goals prior to selecting instructional methods…

    Read more
  • Backwards Mapping

    Backwards mapping is a learning process where instructors form assignments and lessons based on course objectives.…

    Read more
  • Balanced Assessment

    A balanced assessment is an assessment system where tools, methodologies and data systems inform decision-makers such as…

    Read more
  • Blended Learning

    Blended learning combines in-person teaching and interaction with supplemental online educational elements. An…

    Read more
  • Block Scheduling

    Block scheduling is a method that is used in the American education system, where each student has approximately four…

    Read more
  • Bloom’s Taxonomy

    Bloom’s Taxonomy is a hierarchical ordering of cognitive skills that can help teachers and students in the classroom.…

    Read more
  • Bursar’s Office

    The bursar's office is responsible for collecting and analyzing all student charges and fees which includes tuition and…

    Read more
  • BYOD

    Bring your own device (BYOD) is a principle where students bring personal digital devices to class to help improve…

    Read more
  • BYOT

    Bring your own technology (BYOT) is a policy that permits students or employees to use their digital devices at school…

    Read more

Educational terms beginning with letter “C”

  • Canvas

    Canvas is a learning management system (LMS) that students and instructors use throughout the semester. Available for…

    Read more
  • Capstone Course

    Capstone course refers to a final assignment for students to apply their knowledge gathered through the semester to a…

    Read more
  • Catalog Year

    Catalog year indicates the year that a student began studying at a particular institution. For example, if a student…

    Read more
  • Certificate Program

    Certificate Programs are shorter and generally more affordable than degree programs. They are typically eight to twelve…

    Read more
  • Class Constitution

    Class constitution is a course document in which all students have input as to what and how learning takes place. This…

    Read more
  • Co-Teaching

    Co-teaching is an educational method that involves two teachers working together to plan a classroom and make…

    Read more
  • College Remediation

    What is College Remediation College Remediation is a supplementary education program that are assigned to students in…

    Read more
  • Common Assessment

    A common assessment is a standardized method of evaluating student learning, progress and knowledge retention,…

    Read more
  • Comprehension Check

    Comprehension check is where an instructor informally assesses their students’ comprehension across a course. These…

    Read more
  • Connected Learning

    Connected learning is a learning technique where students, instructors and advisors actively participate with one…

    Read more
  • Course Catalog

    A course catalog is a list of courses that are offered by a post-secondary institution. Generally circulated online,…

    Read more
  • Course Syllabus

    A course syllabus is an academic document that communicates information about a specific course and explains the rules,…

    Read more
  • Critical Literacy

    Critical literacy is a learning approach where students are expected to examine various texts to understand the…

    Read more
  • Critical Thinking

    Critical thinking is a practice that encourages students to analyze information objectively and form reasoned…

    Read more
  • Culture of Learning

    A culture of learning is a culture where employees search for, and then apply, skills and knowledge to enhance their…

    Read more
  • Curriculum

    Curriculum is used to describe the lessons and content taught in school. This term encompasses the assignments that…

    Read more
  • Curriculum Design

    Curriculum design is the planning period when instructors organize the instructional units for their course. Curriculum…

    Read more

Educational terms beginning with letter “D”

  • Dean

    Dean is the title for an administrator who leads a specific academic unit including departments or colleges within…

    Read more
  • Deductive Learning

    Deductive learning is a more instructor-centered approach to education. Concepts and generalizations are introduced…

    Read more
  • Deeper Learning

    Deeper learning is an academic philosophy that places an emphasis on providing learners with robust skills and education…

    Read more
  • Deferred Admissions

    Deferred admissions means that an institution has not yet completed reviewing an application file and will make a final…

    Read more
  • Department Chair

    A department chair is a faculty member in a given academic department, assigned by the dean to manage that department.

    Read more
  • Design Thinking

    Design thinking is an interactive process that aims to understand the user and challenge their assumptions, as well as…

    Read more
  • Diagnostic Teaching

    Diagnostic teaching is the process of discovering individual student abilities, needs and objectives and prescribing…

    Read more
  • Digital Classroom

    A digital classroom is typically one that incorporates electronic devices and software into the learning environment. A…

    Read more
  • Direct Instruction

    Direct instruction is where teachers use explicit teaching techniques to teach a specific skill to their students. This…

    Read more
  • Dissertation

    A dissertation is a lengthy written project prepared at the end of an academic program. There are two types of…

    Read more
  • Distance Learning

    Distance learning is where students educate themselves without in-person interaction among peers or an instructor.…

    Read more
  • Drop a Class

    Drop a class is a function in an institution’s student portal for students to remove themselves from a class. This…

    Read more
  • Dual Enrollment

    Dual enrollment describes students who are enrolled in two academic programs or educational institutions at the same…

    Read more

Educational terms beginning with letter “E”

  • E-Learning

    E-learning is a mode of learning that takes place electronically, often via the Internet. It requires students to use…

    Read more
  • E-Literate

    E-literate is an individual’s level of competence and understanding in the use of information technology. E-literacy…

    Read more
  • E-Refund

    E-refund is a reimbursement method where financial aid is directly deposited into students’ bank accounts. A school…

    Read more
  • Early Alert

    Early alert is an online tool that institutions use to identify at-risk students early in the semester. This tool allows…

    Read more
  • Education Reform

    Education reform is the term for the goal of changing public education in terms of educational theory and practice.…

    Read more
  • Education Research

    Education research is the field of study that examines learning processes that shape educational outcomes. Scholars seek…

    Read more
  • Education System

    An education system is an arrangement that consists of at least one teacher and one student in a context, such as in a…

    Read more
  • ELL Students

    ELL students, also known as English Language Learners, are students who learn the language of instruction—English—at…

    Read more
  • Entry Ticket

    Entry tickets are simple student diagnostic tools that can provide professors with a metric on student comprehension of…

    Read more
  • Exit Exam

    An exit exam is a test that assesses a student’s skills pertaining to reading, writing, critical thinking and math.…

    Read more
  • Extracurricular

    An extracurricular is any activity that doesn’t count towards an academic credit. These are activities that students…

    Read more

Educational terms beginning with letter “F”

  • FAFSA

    The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form filled out by current and future undergraduate and…

    Read more
  • FERPA

    FERPA, which stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, is a federal law in the United States of America…

    Read more
  • Final Assessment

    A final assessment is the last activity students must complete in a course. A final assessment may be an exam, a…

    Read more
  • Finals Week

    Finals week describes the period at the end of the semester when students write their final tests for their courses.…

    Read more
  • Financial Aid

    Financial aid includes funds from the government, private organizations and/or from an educational institution to help…

    Read more
  • Financial Hold

    A financial hold is a type of restriction imposed by an institution as a result of a student not paying their fees in…

    Read more
  • Fixed Mindset

    A fixed mindset, proposed by Stanford professor Carol Dweck in her book Mindset, describes people who see their…

    Read more
  • Flexible Learning

    Flexible learning is a method of learning where students are given freedom in how, what, when and where they learn.…

    Read more
  • Flipped Classroom

    A flipped classroom is one that focuses on developing student understanding in class rather than via lectures. Here, the…

    Read more

Educational terms beginning with letter “G”

  • Game Based Learning

    Game based learning is where game characteristics and principles are embedded within learning activities. Here, learning…

    Read more
  • Gamification

    Gamification is the process of integrating games into pre-existing activities or processes in order to increase…

    Read more
  • GPA

    GPA, which is an abbreviation of grade point average, is used predominantly at higher learning institutions in North…

    Read more
  • Grading on a Curve

    Grading on a curve is a practice used by teachers to determine student grades for assignments and/or exams, where grades…

    Read more
  • Graduate School

    Graduate school (sometimes shortened to grad school) is an academic institution that awards advanced degrees.

    Read more
  • Graduation Rate

    A graduation rate is a measure of how many students who began in the same cohort will graduate in six years for…

    Read more
  • Grants

    Grants are student funding offered by a government or organization. This financing solution reduces economic burdens due…

    Read more
  • Group Work

    Group work is exactly what the term implies: students work together in groups to complete assessments and projects.…

    Read more
  • Growth Mindset

    A growth mindset, proposed by Stanford professor Carol Dweck in her book Mindset, describes people who believe that…

    Read more

Educational terms beginning with letter “H”

  • Habits of Mind

    Habits of mind is a term used to refer to dispositions certain intelligent individuals utilize when faced with…

    Read more
  • Hands-on Learning

    Hands-on learning is where instructors engage with students in direct experience and focused reflection to enhance…

    Read more
  • Hidden Curriculum

    Hidden Curriculum is a side effect of education where lessons are learned but not openly intended. Hidden curriculum…

    Read more
  • High-Stakes Testing

    High-stakes testing is any test that is used to make decisions about outcomes related to punishments (e.g. penalties),…

    Read more
  • Hybrid Class

    What is a Hybrid Class Hybrid class is a course that combines traditional, face-to-face “seat time” with some online…

    Read more
  • Hybrid Learning

    Hybrid learning is where students learn through a mix of in-person and online activities. Students are encouraged to…

    Read more
  • HyFlex Courses

    HyFlex courses allow students to choose whether they want to attend face-to-face meetings and earn weekly participation…

    Read more
  • HyFlex Model

    The HyFlex model is a method of educational content delivery, where students can continuously choose between…

    Read more
  • HyFlex Teaching

    Hyflex teaching is a model that presents the components of hybrid learning in a flexible course structure that gives…

    Read more

Educational terms beginning with letter “I”

Educational terms beginning with letter “J”

Educational terms beginning with letter “K”

Educational terms beginning with letter “L”

  • Lab Course

    A lab course is a smaller, individual course component that supplements larger lectures. Labs allow for hands-on,…

    Read more
  • Learning Commons

    Learning commons is a means to encourage participatory learning at school. This is a shared space with physical and…

    Read more
  • Learning Glass

    What is Learning Glass Learning Glass is a technology tool that records lectures and allows professors to write notes…

    Read more
  • Learning Materials

    What is Learning Materials Learning materials refers to one of four elements of integral self-evaluations — in…

    Read more
  • Learning Outcomes

    Learning outcomes are an articulation of the specific skills, attitudes and segments of knowledge a student should…

    Read more
  • Learning Style

    A learning style is the way that different students learn. A style of learning refers to an individual’s preferred way…

    Read more
  • Lecture Capture

    Lecture capture is when a lecture is recorded for the purpose of distributing resources to students who are either…

    Read more
  • Lecture Tools

    Lecture tools act as audience, classroom or student response systems to collect real-time feedback during the teaching…

    Read more
  • Lecturer

    Lecturer refers to faculty members in either college or university. Lecturers typically hold a Master’s or PhD and…

    Read more
  • Lesson Plan

    A lesson plan is a teacher’s guide for facilitating a lesson. It typically includes the goal (what students need to…

    Read more
  • LMS

    A learning management system (LMS) is a digital platform that enables the management, delivery and measurement of a…

    Read more
  • Locus of Control

    E-learning is a mode of learning that takes place electronically, often via the Internet. It requires students to use…

    Read more
  • Low-Stakes Testing

    Low-stakes testing involves the frequent use of evaluation instruments that have little impact on a student's course…

    Read more

Educational terms beginning with letter “M”

  • Mastery Learning

    What is Mastery Learning In mastery learning, students must attain a given level set by their instructor in order to…

    Read more
  • Matriculation

    Matriculation is the formal process of entering a university as a candidate for a degree or of becoming eligible to…

    Read more
  • Mid-term

    A mid-term is a test that a student takes halfway through a school term. By taking a mid-term, students have a better…

    Read more
  • Minor Degree

    An academic minor degree is is a university or college student’s secondary declared academic discipline or field of…

    Read more
  • MOOC

    A MOOC, which is an abbreviation of massive open online course, offers free education in an online environment, with no…

    Read more
  • Multiple Measures

    Multiple measures are the use of multiple indicators to measure student learning. This data is collected at multiple…

    Read more

Educational terms beginning with letter “N”

Educational terms beginning with letter “O”

  • OER

    Open Educational Resources (OER) are publicly accessible digital learning materials that can be used freely and…

    Read more
  • Online Class

    An online class is a course conducted over the internet. They are generally conducted through a learning management…

    Read more
  • Online Instruction

    Online instruction is an educational model where students and instructors connect via technology to review lectures,…

    Read more
  • Online Learning

    Online learning is a method of education whereby students learn in a fully virtual environment. First introduced in the…

    Read more
  • Online Lecture

    An online lecture is an educational class that is held online. Teaching and learning do not necessarily have to occur at…

    Read more
  • Open Classroom

    An open classroom kit a student-centered learning space that has a large group of students boasting wide variety of…

    Read more
  • Opportunity Gap

    Opportunity gap refers to the ways in which socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, English proficiency, familial…

    Read more

Educational terms beginning with letter “P”

  • Pedagogy

    Pedagogy is a term that refers to the method of how teachers teach, in theory and in practice. Pedagogy is formed by an…

    Read more
  • PhD

    A PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy, is a postgraduate doctoral degree. A PhD is awarded to students who complete an original…

    Read more
  • Plagiarism

    Plagiarism is misrepresenting another person or organization’s work or ideas as your original by adding it into your…

    Read more
  • Prerequisite Course

    A prerequisite course must be completed prior to another course. Prerequisites are often implemented at all education…

    Read more
  • Prior Knowledge

    Prior knowledge is the information and educational context a learner already has before they learn new information

    Read more
  • Proctor

    A proctor is a title given to school officials responsible for maintaining order or supervising students during exams…

    Read more
  • Proctored Test

    A proctored test is a test that is supervised by someone, referred to as a proctor, who verifies the identity of the…

    Read more
  • Professor

    Professor is the title given to college and university level educators who generally hold a postgraduate degree. They…

    Read more
  • Provost

    A provost is a senior administrative officer of academic matters at a college or university in North America. A provost…

    Read more

Educational terms beginning with letter “Q”

  • Quiz

    A quiz is a quick and informal assessment of student knowledge. Quizzes are often used in North American higher…

    Read more

Educational terms beginning with letter “R”

  • Reflective Practice

    What is Reflective Practice Reflective Practice is a continuous learning process where individuals recall their own…

    Read more
  • Relative Grading

    Relative grading is a system of assessment whereby teachers in some university and college classes determine student…

    Read more
  • Remote Classrooms

    What are Remote Classrooms Remote classrooms refer to learning environments where students and their instructors are not…

    Read more
  • Remote Learning

    What is Remote Learning Remote learning is where the student and the educator, or information source, are not physically…

    Read more
  • Remote Proctoring

    Remote proctoring enables students to write a test in a remote location, while maintaining the integrity of the test.…

    Read more
  • Remote Teaching

    Remote teaching occurs outside of a physical classroom. Instructors are separated from their learners in time and…

    Read more
  • Remote Testing

    What is Remote Testing Remote testing is when students conduct assessments, such as tests and final exams, on their own…

    Read more
  • Resume

    A resume is a document created by an individual to present their background, accomplishments and skills, most often to…

    Read more
  • Retrieval Practice

    Retrieval practice is where bringing information to mind increases learning and retention. Here, students do not have…

    Read more
  • Rote Learning

    Rote learning is the process of memorizing information based on repetition. Rote learning enhances students’ ability…

    Read more
  • Rubric

    A rubric is a guide for evaluating student performance related to exams, assignments, projects and more. Rubrics are…

    Read more

Educational terms beginning with letter “S”

  • Sage on the Stage

    Sage on the stage is a teaching method where a professor imparts knowledge by lecturing to their class. Students are…

    Read more
  • Scantron

    Scantron is a type of standardized testing methodology that uses Optical Mark Recognition (OMR), whereby light coming…

    Read more
  • Scientific Inquiry

    Scientific inquiry has two primary functions. Firstly, it provides a description of how scientific inquiry is conducted…

    Read more
  • Scope and Sequence

    Scope and sequence is a term that describes the ideas and concepts that will be covered in a book or course within a…

    Read more
  • SCORM

    SCORM is an acronym for Shareable Content Object Reference Model. It is a technical specification for eLearning products…

    Read more
  • Senior Lecturer

    Senior lecturer refers to faculty members who make a significant contribution to teaching and development within their…

    Read more
  • Service Learning

    What is Service Learning Service learning is an educational approach that combines traditional curricular learning…

    Read more
  • Standardized Test

    A standardized test is a method of assessment built on the principle of consistency: all test takers are required to…

    Read more
  • STEM

    STEM is an interdisciplinary, applied approach to learning science, technology, engineering and math. Rather than…

    Read more
  • Student Affairs

    Student affairs is the department or division of services for student success. This group of smaller departments are in…

    Read more
  • Student Debt

    Student debt are funds that are owed on a loan taken out to pay for one’s education. Debt may be incurred when…

    Read more
  • Student Empowerment

    Student empowerment is where students gain the authority and agency to make decisions on their own and implement their…

    Read more
  • Student Engagement

    Student engagement is the extent to which students show attention, curiosity, optimism and interest in the material that…

    Read more
  • Student Enrollment

    Student enrollment is the process of arranging to attend an institution and specific classes. This term may also…

    Read more
  • Student Orientation

    Student orientation is the period prior to the start of the academic year at a college or university where a variety of…

    Read more
  • Student Success

    Student success is defined as the processes that are most likely to lead to positive student outcomes. However, how…

    Read more
  • Syllabus

    A syllabus is a written set of expectations for a course. It usually includes course policies, rules and regulations,…

    Read more
  • Synchronous Learning

    Synchronous learning is where students rely on instant communication, such as instant messaging, to interact with their…

    Read more

Educational terms beginning with letter “T”

  • Teaching Assistant

    A teaching assistant (TA) is typically a graduate student who assists a professor with instructional responsibilities. A…

    Read more
  • Team-Based Learning

    Team-based learning is an evidence-based teaching and learning strategy that uses collaboration as its main method of…

    Read more
  • Technology Literacy

    Technology literacy is a term used to describe an individual’s ability to assess, acquire and communicate information…

    Read more
  • Tenure

    Tenure is a coveted status professors at universities and colleges in North America can receive that provides indefinite…

    Read more
  • Tertiary Education

    Tertiary education, also called post-secondary education, is any level of education pursued beyond high school,…

    Read more
  • Think-Pair-Share

    Think-pair-share is a collaborative teaching strategy that can be used to aid students in forming original ideas by…

    Read more
  • Transcript

    A transcript is a student's inventory of the courses they have taken towards their degree and the grades they received.

    Read more
  • Transfer Credit

    A transfer credit is put towards a current credential at an accredited institution from a separate school that a student…

    Read more
  • Tuition

    Tuition is the associated charges or fees for learning at a college or university. Tuition usually applies to one…

    Read more

Educational terms beginning with letter “U”

Educational terms beginning with letter “V”

Educational terms beginning with letter “W”

  • Weighted Grades

    Weighted grades are used in college, university and even high school courses by educators in order to determine how…

    Read more

Educational terms beginning with letter “X”

  • X-axis

    An x-axis is one of the axes of a two- or three-dimensional graph. The x-axis is the horizontal plane of a graph in a…

    Read more

Educational terms beginning with letter “Y”

  • Y-axis

    A y-axis is the vertical axis on the Cartesian coordinate plane. The y-axis starts at negative infinity and increases to…

    Read more
  • Yearbook

    A yearbook is a book of photos and words published annually by an institution to commemorate and highlight the events of…

    Read more

Educational terms beginning with letter “Z”