Project Glossary/Terms

Agency: An attribute for self-improvement including the development of a growth mindset and taking ownership for one’s own learning.

Authentic: Has value beyond school. Typically, authenticity requires students to take on a role beyond that of ‘student’ or ‘learner,’ either by placing students in a scenario where they simulate tasks performed by adults or by requiring learners to address a challenge or problem facing a particular community group.

Authentic Product: A product that has value beyond school and, preferably, an audience outside the school or classroom.

Benchmark: Steps on the way toward completing products. They are substantial tasks that every group/individual completes in order to mark progress toward finishing products. Benchmarks are used to provide formative feedback.

College Ready Assessment (CRA): an individually completed written task that is authentically embedded within a PBL Unit. The task informs the final product of the project or serves as one of the benchmarks along the way. The CRA task elicits all of the indicators in the appropriate Knowledge and Thinking and Written Communication rubrics.

Critical Friends: A tuning protocol that provides a safe way for peers to share their work and get constructive feedback for improvement.

Culminating Event: This is the student-generated product made in response to the project’s entry event. If the entry event is how the project begins, the culminating event is how it ends.

Driving Question: The core question students are answering during the project. Well-crafted driving questions are open ended and allow for a variety of answers.

Echo: The Learning Management System used by New Tech Network schools.

Enduring Understanding: Concepts, ideas, experiences, or skills students should remember for years after exposure to them. It is broader and more applicable than the driving question, which is project specific. Enduring understandings address essential ideas and central processes that matter outside the classroom/subject area.

Entry Event: How projects are launched in the New Tech Network model of PBL. The event should pique students’ interests and lay the breadcrumbs for need-to-knows.

Social Contract: A document, created and mutually agreed upon by a group, which outlines group norms and responsibilities, as well as consequences for failing to hold to agreements.

Learning Outcomes: See School-Wide Learning Outcomes.

Individual Assessment of Knowledge and Thinking (IAKT): A robust reading/ researching/ viewing and writing product that addresses core content, helps students develop disciplinary literacy skills, and addresses Common Core Standards (as appropriate).

Need-to-Knows (NTKs): Skills, content, and logistical information required to complete a project. These are identified by learners as unknown, or requiring facilitator support in acquiring and mastering.

Next Steps: Concrete, prioritized, action items identified by learners as ways to address need-to-knows.

NTKs: See Need-to-Knows.

Norms: Mutually agreed upon standards for interaction, outlining how group members should treat each other. Sometimes called agreements.

NTN: Acronym for New Tech Network.

PBL: Abbreviation commonly used for project-based learning.

PrBL: Abbreviation commonly used for problem-based learning.

Primary and Secondary Sources: Information sources used by learners. Primary sources are documents, data, etc. created or written in a particular time period or documents, data, etc. recorded by scientists, professionals, etc. responding to or studying a particular event. Secondary sources are sources that synthesize, interpret, analyze, describe, etc. primary sources.

Problem Statement: Statement learners complete that expresses the students’ role in the project, the task they will complete, and the reason why the project matters. Usually written as, “How can we as… (who) do… (what) so that… (why).

Project Briefcase: Virtual space in Echo that contains project resources, guidelines, workshops, activities, and places to submit work.

Project Calendar: See “Project Map.”

Project Launch: Event that initiates a project. Sometimes called Project Rollout. See also “Entry Event.”

Project Map: A document used to plan sequential events within the scope of a project. Potential events to include may be project rollout, benchmarks, assessments, remediation, and opportunities for reflection.

Rubric: A set of leveled criteria for assessing learners’ products or performance.

School Wide Learning Outcomes (SWLOs): College, career, and life readiness skills that go beyond so-called traditional content standards. Mutually agreed upon by school staff and taught and assessed in an NTN school.

Product: Something a student will accomplish, typically in student-facing language. Substantive academic activities

Workshop: An activity or presentation designed to address a particular need-to-know which often occurs in small groups.