Short Glossary of Education and Training Terms


(Provides some simple definitions to topics covered on this website – hope it proves helpful).

Accreditation: The issue of formal recognition that bodies or institutions or the procedures used by them meet specified requirements.

Achievement/Attainment Test:  A test that measures achievement in a particular subject or occupation rather than potential.

Assessment: Appraisal or estimation of an individual’s degree of ability by whatever means (e.g. assignments, course work, interviews, practical work, written tests etc.). Assessment may be internal (carried out by a teacher o/tutor/supervisor) or external (carried out by outside agency – usually only relevant to written tests).

Awards: A general term for qualifications issued by examining or validating bodies.

Certifying Body: An organisation which issues a document formally attesting that the document holder has passed in specified assessments and/or fulfilled specified requirements.

Competence: The ability to perform a particular activity to a prescribed standard

Credit Accumulation: Arrangements which enable candidates to accumulate a specified number of credits, usually by successful completion of individual modules, to qualify for an award.

Credit Transfer: The acceptance of an award, or credit gained towards an award, as credit towards another award.

Criteria for Assessment: Predetermined lists of qualities against which a student’s work can be compared and the degree of success determined; or, lists of requirements to be covered in assessment procedures.

CPVE:  Certificate designed for young people who wish to stay on at school or college after their period of compulsory education, for whom a specific academic or vocational course is not appropriate. One year course leading to a new qualification were introduced in 1985.

Curriculum: The entire programme of learning experiences which together make up a course. Also the entire range of learning experiences provided by an institution.

Examination: One or more tests or assessment of knowledge or proficiency, involving the use of either written or oral questions and/or exercises.

Examining and Validating Bodies:

An organisation which makes awards to candidates who pass examinations which the organisation has set and marked itself too its own syllabuses is classified as an examining body. An organisation which makes awards to candidates who successfully complete an internally or externally assessed course which the organisation has approved and monitored is classified as a validating body.

Experiential Learning: Learning through experience rather than through study or formal instruction.

Level: Classification of the degree of difficulty or complexity of a course or award with reference to other courses or awards.

Moderation: Procedures to align standards of assessment between different tests papers, testing occasions, examiners, centres, etc. For example, internal assessments may be moderated by an external examiner who ascertains that the assessment standards of a group of internal examiners are consistent from candidate to candidate and comparable with those of such examiners in similar institutions elsewhere.

Module (of Learning): Separate and self-standing parts of educational or training programmes designed as a series to lead to ascertain level of qualification or attainment or as a related group from which programmes may be chosen, according to need. The term always requires definition because of the length of the module as many courses have modules with very different time requirements.

Module (of Accreditation): A self-standing unit for awarding credit within a system of qualifications. The module is defined in terms of an area of competence and the standards by which the competence is assessed.

Occupation: A group of related skills, tasks or activities which are common to a range of jobs and which are grouped together under a title for the purpose of identification and classification.

Occupational Group: A group of jobs on the same basic discipline, such as production engineering, and within which the recruitment qualifications overlap. Employees will tend to move up or across the job group by extending or developing their knowledge and skills.

Pre-Vocational Education: Education designed to give people a broad preparation and requisite knowledge for entry to the word of work generally, normally developed through study and experience of one or more broad groups of occupations. It may be offered pre-16 or post-16.

Professional Bodies: An association incorporated for the purposes of seeking standard for those who practise in a profession or occupation, of advancing knowledge related to the profession and of protecting and promoting the interests of its members. A professional body which examines sets and marks examinations to its own syllabus or approves and monitors educational institutions to carry out examinations on its behalf.

Progression: Building on existing competences either to broaden their range, to bring them up to date, or to extend them to a higher level.

Skill: Facility gained by practice or knowledge.

Standards: The agreed and recognised levels of competence-skills, knowledge, nderstanding and experience-to be achieved through education or training, or required to perform a job or range of jobs.

Syllabus: A concise written description of the subject matter of a course or examination.

Task: An element or combination of elements of work by means of which a specific result is achieved.

Training: The provision of learning experiences enabling trainees to develop specified competences.

TVEI:  Was a five year pilot scheme to stimulate the provision of technical and vocational education for the 14-18 year olds in the education system.

Validation: The process of scrutinising a proposed course and of deciding whether or not it should be approved as being of an appropriate nature and standard for the award to which it is intended to lead and, if this proves to be the case, of specifying the conditions which must be fulfilled if the course is actually to run. Validation may be ‘internal’ or ‘external’ depending on whether it is carried out by the institution which provides the course or by an outside body.

Validity: The extent to which assessment fulfils its purpose.

Vocational Education: Education designed to prepare people for work in a particular occupation or groups of occupations. It may be given at the level of further or higher education.

Work Experience: Placements of a students or trainees with a company or organisation to give direct experience of the working environment.

YTS: An MSC programme for young people which offered two-year course to 16 year old school leavers and one year programmes for 17 year school leavers; and gave opportunities for vocational training leading to recognised vocational qualifications.


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