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K-12 Term Definitions

Definitions of common K-12 terms used on this site:

  • Authorization level: Enables a person to work at a specific grade level, e.g., elementary, middle/high. 
  • Endorsement: Certifies a candidate in a specific subject area, e.g. ESL/bilingual, reading, social studies.
  • Cohort: Group of students who move through a program together.
  • Competency: Ability to apply knowledge appropriately.
  • Field placement: A type of experience in a K-12 school (practicum, observation, internship, student teaching). 
  • Field experience: See field placement, sometimes used interchangeably.
  • Inclusive educator: Is able to work successfully with students of all abilities in the same classroom. 
  • Instructional assistant: An unlicensed person who assists a licensed teacher in a classroom.
  • Internship: A field experience where the student teacher is at least partially compensated by the school district/program.
  • License: Official document awarded by the TSPC that enables teachers to work in Oregon schools.
  • Portfolio: A body of evidence collected by students that demonstrates the quality of their work.
  • Practicum: A field experience over the course of a term.
  • Prerequisite class: A required class taken before a course or program.
  • Self-contained classroom: A classroom, typically K–9, where the teacher is responsible for all curriculum.
  • Student teacher: A student who is placed in a classroom as part of a student’s instruction and supervised by a licensed teacher.
  • Student teaching: Required by the state for licensure programs; student teaching 1 (half-time) or student teaching 2 (full-time).  
  • TK20: GSE student records and admission system.
  • TSPC: Teacher Standards and Practices Commission, Oregon’s teacher licensing agency.
  • Work samples: Sample assignments to be placed in the student’s portfolio.