Glossary of terms used on this site

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Term Definition

a grouping of humans with common features thought to be inherited genetically ancestry tribal or national origin.


discrimination or prejudice on the grounds of race belief in the superiority or inferiority of a person or group on the grounds of race. Racism can be conscious or unconscious and as with any form of discrimination can operate at individual social institutional and systemic levels.

radical education

an approach which rejects traditional outlooks and attitudes and has as one of its aims thorough social and political reform (see progressivism).

randomised control trial

a standard research method involving the creation of two closely matching groups for comparative purposes only one of which is then subjected to the intervention which is being studied. It is a common approach in science but meets with problems and criticism when implemented in educational research not least because of the difficulty of generalising from the unique circumstances of the trial.


a set of reasons or the logical basis for a course of action or a belief.


(1) the practice or principle of basing opinions and actions on reason rather than on (religious) belief or emotions. (2) the philosophical theory that reason rather than experience is the foundation of certainty in knowledge.


the ability to think logically or sensibly the state of being endowed with the capacity to reason.

raw score

in education a test result or statistical data which has not been adjusted or interpreted in any way or had any contextual or mitigating factors taken into account.


opposing social progress or reform.


in education the state of being prepared to start school. Various tests and measures are in existence designed to gauge the degree to which an individual will be able to cope in school and what support they may require.


a term with broad application: in philosophy it generally refers to the belief that there is anobjective world about which we can have objective knowledge. More commonly it is a term used for an approach which accepts the world or situations as they are and judges the merits of ideas plans and actions on the extent to which they fit this viewpoint. Positively this can be seen as a counter to the unfeasible and the idealistic but negatively it can be seen as being too resigned to things as they are and lacking the will to effect change or improvement.


practical politics: an approach which recognises issues of power and interest rather than morals or ideals.


the tendency to relapse particularly into anti-social harmful or discredited behaviours or attitudes.

reciprocal reading

     an approach designed to aid reading comprehension where teacher and reader  or pairs/groups of readers explore a text together through four main strategies of questioning clarifying sequencing and predicting.

record keeping

an important aspect of schooling which involves keeping track of various issues relating to learners such as attendance achievements and progress. The rise in public accountability has led to considerable growth in record keeping and many critics compare negatively the increased time taken to manage this with its perceived value.

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