Glossary of terms used on this site

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Term Definition
grade retention

a term from the US educational system for the practice of having (school) students repeat a year/course where they are deemed to have failed.

grade-related criteria

stipulated indicators of performance expected at different levels to aid assessment judgements or set standards.

grading on the curve

where assessment is conducted so that there is a normal distribution of learners' results with most around the mean and a few at either pole.

grammar school

a term in use since the middle ages originally indicating a school offering a classical curriculum. More recently it refers to an academically oriented school usually with entry determined by selection - the 11-plus exam in England the qualifying exam in Scotland. These were abolished following the introduction of comprehensive schools in 1965 but some areas of England have retained or re-introduced them.


the term used in Scotland for direct grant schools.


a type of school introduced in England in 1988 which remains in the state sector but is funded by central government.


an amount of money which is given to a person or body for some purpose for example a student grant or a block grant from central to local government.


the ability to use and understand symbols graphs diagrams plans and maps. It is allied in usage to literacy and numeracy.

grounded theory

a method of qualitative research which endeavours to operate by having theory 'emerge' from the data rather than approaching data with theory or preconceived concepts. Its attempt to be more naturalistic by drawing its theoretical framework and related concepts from the participants themselves is not without its critics.


a  term for the phenomenon whereby members of a group may suppress disagreement fail to consider alternative suggestions ignore the wider practical implications of their thinking adopt  a uniformly consensus approach which may result in poor decision-making. 


an approach to teaching where collective tasks are assigned to groups of learners although the completion may still be on an individual basis (see co-operative learning  collaborative learning).


a common metaphor for educational development.


pastoral care provided in schools.

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