Education Glossary A-H


Accreditation: The process by which an established accrediting agency recognizes an institution of higher education as maintaining certain educational standards.

ACT Exam: A standardized college entrance test that measures a student’s educational achievement. The test includes sections on English, mathematics, reading and science, as well as an optional writing test. Composite test scores range from 1 to 36.

Advanced Placement (AP) Exam: A yearly exam offered to high school students enrolled in Advanced Placement classes. The exams are graded on a numerical range of 1 to 5, with higher scores qualifying the student for college credit and priority when applying to an institution of higher education.

Applet: A small computer application used in conjunction with another program to perform simple functions, such as displaying graphic images or flash videos in a web browser.

Associate Degree: An undergraduate academic degree awarded to a student upon completion of a two-year program from an institution of higher education.

Asynchronous Learning: A method of learning that relies primarily on online resources to facilitate interaction between the student and teacher. Examples of asynchronous learning methods include email, discussion boards, wikis and blogs.


Bachelor’s Degree: An undergraduate degree awarded upon completion of a four-year program from an institution of higher education.

Blended Learning: A method of learning that combines various methods, such as traditional classroom interaction and technology-driven activities conducted outside of the classroom.


Certificate: A document awarded to a student upon completion of an academic program that requires fewer credits than a bachelor’s or master’s degree program.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP): A program that assesses a student’s knowledge through subject-specific exams. The program offers an opportunity for students with qualifying scores to receive college credit at participating institutions of higher education.

Computer-Based Assessment (CBA): A method of assessment in which instructors administer or assess tests electronically, often through the Internet.

Computer-Based Learning (CBL): A method of learning that relies primarily on various online technologies rather than classroom interaction.

Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL): A method of learning that highlights collaboration among students and teachers through the use of online technologies and resources.

Continuing Education: Postsecondary education for adults who are older than the typical undergraduate and which can include degree programs, non-degree classes, career development programs and other courses of study.


Diploma: A certificate that recognizes a student’s completion of a course of study or degree program at an educational institution.

Discussion Board: A form of online technology that encourages collaboration between participants on a specific subject. In online education, a discussion board may be used to post assignments and facilitate class discussion.

Distance Learning: A method of learning in which the student and teacher are not physically present in a classroom, but instead use various online resources to interact.

Doctorate Degree: The highest academic degree given for study in a specific field or subject.


E-Learning 2.0: A method of learning patterned after Web 2.0, e-learning is a user-centered Web ideology that focuses on social learning through information-sharing and collaboration.

ePortfolio: A collection of electronic documents, files and other media that showcases an individual’s abilities and skills.


Federal Pell Grant: A federal grant awarded to undergraduate students (and some post-baccalaureate students) with demonstrated financial need. Recipients of the Federal Pell Grant may receive additional federal or private financial aid.

Federal Perkins Loan: A low-interest federal loan that helps students with demonstrated financial need pay for postsecondary education.

Federal PLUS Loan: A low-interest federal loan offered to parents of a dependent undergraduate student to help fund the student’s postsecondary education.

Federal Stafford Student Loan: A low-interest federal loan given to students to help finance postsecondary education. Stafford loans can be subsidized by the Federal Government or unsubsidized, depending on the student’s demonstrated financial need.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): A federal grant given to students who demonstrate an exceptional financial need. Students who receive a Federal Pell Grant are given priority in the program.

Federal Work-Study Program: A federal program that helps fund a student’s postsecondary education by offering part-time employment to those students who demonstrate a financial need.

Flexible Learning: A learning ideology that provides maximum freedom for the student, often by incorporating various Web-based technologies into the learning curriculum, as well as traditional classroom interaction.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): A form used by the Department of Education to determine a student’s financial aid eligibility for a given school year. A student’s eligibility is determined by calculating the Expected Family Contribution and must be renewed annually.


General Educational Development (GED) Tests: A group of tests that assess an individual’s knowledge in five subject areas, which are considered equivalent to a high school diploma. Scores range from 200 to 800.

Grade Point Average (GPA): A student’s grade point average is a numerical representation of the student’s grades, averaged over the course of a semester, year or entire course of study.

Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT): A standardized test required for admission into a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. The aptitude test consists of sections in both mathematics and English.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE): A standardized test required for entrance into many graduate programs, which assesses an individual’s proficiency in mathematics, vocabulary and analytical writing.

Hybrid Course: An academic course taught both in the classroom and through the use of online technologies, such as discussion boards and wikis.

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