Glossary

ACTFL
(American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages): The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages is the national organization dedicated to the improvement and expansion of the teaching and learning of all World Languages at all levels of instruction throughout the U.S. ACTFL engages in many projects on a national level including the publication of the ACTFL Performance Guidelines for K-12 Learners, the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines for Speaking, and the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines for Writing.

Academic Term
The time period when an institution offers courses. Examples may include: quarter, semester, or trimester.

Alternative Certification Program
An approved educator preparation program, delivered by entities specifically designed as an alternative to a traditional undergraduate certification program, for individuals already holding at least a baccalaureate degree.

Alternative Teacher Education Program
A non-traditional teacher training program offered often by universities or school districts. These can often be completed quickly and or while a teacher is employed by a school district and is completing basic skills or subject matter requirements.

Background Check
Required by most states, a background check determines if the applicant has engaged in any behavior that endangers the health, welfare, safety or education of students.

Basic Skills
Assessment of English (Reading and Writing) and Math. Also known as Basic Competency. Varies by State.

Bilingual
A person who can speak two languages fluently.

Biliterate
One who is able to read and write two different languages.

Credential
Professional recognition, also known as a certificate or license.

Employing Agency
Refers to an entity who employs individuals to serve in the public schools of a state.

Heritage Language
In the United States, World Languages originally used by the culture to which one or one’s family belongs.

Home Language
In the United States, World Languages spoken primarily within the context of one’s home and family.

National Board Certification
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization governed by a 63-member board of directors. This board rigorously assesses an experienced teacher’s qualifications for the purpose of issuing a National Certificate.

Pedagogy
The art and science of teaching, incorporating instructional methods that are developed from scientifically-based research.

Proficiency
A range in ability to use a language in comparison with the language skill of the educated native speaker. Proficiency in a language is described at five main levels: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Superior, and Distinguished.

Proof of Program Enrollment
Often a letter from the program leader (university or school district superintendent’s office) that candidate is enrolled in a teacher preparation program.

State Approved Teacher Education Program
A program that follows state standards in teacher preparation and has been approved by state officials. This can be an alternative or traditional program.

World Language
Any natural language, including American Sign Language and languages no longer spoken (e.g., Latin and ancient Greek).