Texas Education Agency

Educational Terminology

Academic Achievement Record (AAR) (Historial de desempeño académico) – Also known as a transcript, this is an official and permanent record of the student’s academic performance in high school.  Families have a right to a copy of the AAR.  For more information, see 19 TAC §74.14.


Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) (Sistema de indicadores de excelencia académica) – Now known as the Texas Academic Performance Reports  (TAPR), this reporting system pulls together a wide range of information annually on the performance of students in each school and district in Texas.  The reports, available back to the 1993-94 school year, provide extensive information on staff, programs and demographics for each school and district.


Access to the General Curriculum (Acceso al currículo general) – Under IDEA, students with disabilities must have the opportunity to learn and be tested (assessed) on the same curriculum as that provided to students without disabilities.  In Texas, the General Curriculum is the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).  By using a range of instructional strategies based on the varied strengths and needs of students, teachers ensure that students work towards grade level content standards (TEKS).


Accommodations (Adaptaciones) – Practices and procedures that allow students with disabilities to learn, have access to, and be tested on the same curriculum as students without disabilities. Accommodations do not change what the student is expected to learn but rather how he or she learns the curriculum.  Providing accommodations during instruction and assessment may also promote equal access to the general curriculum.  See Accommodation Resources for links to TEA's annually published accommodations manual.


Adapted Physical Education (Educación física con adaptaciones) – A physical education (PE) program developed for students with disabilities who are not able to participate in the regular PE program with accommodations or modifications.


Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) (Progreso anual adecuado) – On September 30, 2013, the Texas Education Agency secured a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education for specific provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), commonly known as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001. One of the key changes in the NCLB waiver is the elimination of the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) designation. This change is not necessarily permanent. All aspects of the waiver are subject to revision or revocation.


Adult Student (Estudiante adulto) – A student over the age of 18 is considered an adult unless a parent or other person has been granted guardianship or other legal alternative.


Alternative Education Programs (AEP) (Programas educativos alternativos) – Disciplinary settings for students who have committed an offense of the state law or the student code of conduct.  AEPs operated by the school district are called Disciplinary Alternative Education Programs (DAEP). Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Programs (JJAEP) are operated by the juvenile justice system. Students with disabilities who are placed in AEPs are entitled to special education supports and services.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) (Ley de 1990 sobre estadounidenses con discapacidades) – A civil rights law that protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination and calls for the elimination of barriers in the workplace, schools and other settings.


Anecdotal records (Expedientes anecdóticos) - An informal, written record (usually positive in tone), based on the observations of the teacher, of a student's progress and/or activities which occur throughout the day.


Annual Federal Data Report (Informe Federal Anual de Datos) – Data collected on students with disabilities in Texas and submitted to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) on an annual basis.


Annual Goals (Metas anuales) – An individualized education program must include a statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals, designed to meet the child’s needs to enable the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum; and meet each of the child’s other educational needs that result from the disability.  The goals reflect what the ARD committee believes the child can reasonably accomplish in a year.


Annual Performance Report (APR) (Informe anual del desempeño) - Comprehensive report compiled annually by the State education agency and submitted to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) for a variety of purposes, including ongoing monitoring of the implementation of Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  


ARD Committee (Admission, Review and Dismissal) (Comité de ARD - Admisión, repaso y retiro) – In Texas, the name for the IEP Team made up of a student’s parents and school staff who meet at least annually to:

  • decide whether or not the student has an eligible disability,

  • determine what special education and related services will be provided, and 

  • develop an individual education program (IEP).

For more information, see the Commissioner’s Rules Guidance on ARD committee.


ARD Meeting (Admission, Review, and Dismissal) (Reunión ARD - Admisión, repaso y retiro) -  Annual review of a student’s special education program that includes an update of the student’s progress, a review of the current Individualized Education Plan (IEP), and development of a new IEP for the upcoming year.  (See ARD Committee).


AskTED (Directorio AskTED) – Online directory that provides current organizational and mailing information for Texas public schools (including charter schools and Texas state agency schools), school districts and regional education service centers. 

Assessment (Evaluación) – Tests given to all students to evaluate learning. The most common statewide assessment in Texas is the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®), which replaced the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) in spring 2012.  Students with disabilities take the same statewide assessment as all other students, unless the ARD Committee determines that the student will use an alternate assessment tool.

Assistive Technology (Tecnología de adaptación) – Any item, piece of equipment, or product system used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a person with a disability. Common examples of assistive technology include, but are not limited to, computer keyboards with large keys, communication boards, electronic communication devices, and books on tape. The term does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of that device.  Learn more from the Texas Assistive Technology Network.


Auditory Impairment (AI) (Impedimento auditivo) – As defined by the IDEA, auditory impairment means deafness or hearing impairment.  Deafness is defined as a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification that adversely affects the child’s educational performance.  A Hearing impairment is an impairment, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects the child’s educational performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness. A determination of auditory impairment must comply with the criteria set forth in the federal and state law as described in the Auditory Impairment Framework of the Legal Framework for the Child-Centered Process.  Visit the Crossroads website for information on Deaf Education in Texas.


Autism (AU) (Autismo) – As defined by the IDEA, autism is “a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects a child's educational performance.  Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.”  Autism does not apply if a child’s educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disturbance.  A determination of autism must comply with the criteria set forth in the federal and state law as described in the Autism Framework of the Legal Framework for the Child-Centered Process,   Learn more about autism at the Texas Statewide Leadership for Autism site.


Autism Supplement (Suplemento sobre el autismo) – The Commissioners Rules (TAC 89.1055(e) lists 11 strategies that must be considered when developing an education program for a student with autism.  Schools are not required to implement every strategy for each student with autism, but should consider the strategies based on individual student need.  For more information on the 11 strategies, please see the Commissioner’s Rule Related to Autism - TAC89.1055(e).


Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) (Plan de intervención debido a la conducta) – A written plan to address behavioral concerns impeding the child’s learning or that of others.  It is part of a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that includes positive behavioral interventions and supports and other strategies to address the behavior.  For more information on positive behavior supports, see the Texas Behavior Support Initiative.


Benchmark assessment (Evaluación de puntos de referencia) - A standard by which something is evaluated or measured.  Typically “benchmarks” may be established several times during a school year and used to determine progress or the lack of progress in a given skill.


Child Find (Agencia que localiza a niños con discapacidades) – State-developed policies and procedures to ensure that all children with disabilities residing in Texas, and who are in need of special education and related services, are identified, located and evaluated.


Children’s Learning Institute (CLI)  (Centro para destrezas académicas y de la lectura) – The Children’s Learning Institute (CLI) at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth is a preeminent resource for learning solutions that produce tested, proven, effective results through scientific research and evidence-based interventions.  CLI programs include the Texas Literacy Initiative.


Child with a Disability (Niño que tiene alguna discapacidad) – A student, age 3-21, who has a “disability” according to one of the 13 disability categories defined under the IDEA, and who is in need of special education and related services.   See also Diagnosis vs. Disability Label.


Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) (Código de reglamentos federales) – A multi-volume set of documents that organizes the rules and regulations that are published in the Federal Register by departments and agencies of the Federal Government. The CFR is divided into 50 major headings, called “titles”.  Regulations are listed under the appropriate title by a system of CFR numbers.  (For example, Title 34 is “Education”. The regulation pertaining to FAPE under the IDEA is published as 34 CFR 300.101(c).) Each volume of the CFR is updated and printed once each calendar year.


Community Resource Coordination Groups (CRCG) (Grupo para la coordinación de los recursos comunitarios) – An interagency group comprised of public and private child-service providers that meets on a regular basis to review service needs and provide limited case management services for students who have multiple personal and family needs.


Complaint (Queja) – Written action taken to notify the Texas Education Agency (the state education agency) and a school district that special education regulations are not being followed by the school district.   A complaint must include the name & address of student, the violation that occurred, and offer a possible resolution to the complaint.  It must be sent to both TEA and the school district superintendent. 


Consent (Consentimiento) – Written permission required before the school evaluates a student for special education services for the first time, places a student in the special education program for the first time, or reevaluates the student to determine the continued need for special education services.  Written consent is also needed before the school can release confidential information from a student’s education records.  (The exception is when the district releases the student’s records to another school district where the student has moved.)  Consent is voluntary and may be withdrawn at any time.


Continuous Improvement and Focused Monitoring System (CIFMS) (Mejoramiento continuo y sistema de monitoreo enfocado) and Continuous Improvement Monitoring Process (CIMP) (y Proceso de monitoreo del mejoramiento continuo) – Accountability measures developed and put into place by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).  The purpose is to ensure that States are complying with the rules and regulations of IDEA.  The goal is improved results for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities.


Co-Teaching (Co-enseñanza) – This occurs when general education and special education teachers work together to teach students who have a range of abilities, including students with disabilities, in the general education classroom.  Both teachers take part in planning, teaching and evaluating students’ performance.  TEA offers a guide on Co-teaching for Reading Instruction.


Courses of Study (Materias requeridas) – Middle school, high school and college course work (or classes) needed to obtain a certain type of diploma.  See also Academic Achievement Record.


Curriculum Based Measurement (CBM) (Evaluación basada en el currículo) – A method teachers use to find out how students are progressing in basic academic areas such as math, reading, writing, and spelling.


Curriculum Framework (Estructura del currículo) – The STAAR Alternate 2 Curriculum Framework documents list the reporting categories, knowledge and skills statements, and student expectations tested by STAAR in each grade and subject or high school course.  This can be a useful document for developing goals and objectives for students who required modified curriculum as it lists the prerequisite skills through grade level skills under each objective for the grade level.

Deaf-Blindness (DB) (Sordoceguera) – A combination of hearing and visual losses.  Under IDEA, Deaf Blindness means concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that the student cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness.  A determination of deaf-blindness must comply with criteria set forth in federal and state law as described in the Deaf-Blindness framework of the Legal Framework for the Child-Centered Process.  Click here for more information on the Texas Deaf-Blind Project


Developmental Delay (Retraso en el desarrollo) – Under IDEA, states may use this disability category to provide special education and related services to students aged three through nine.  The definition of “developmental delay” is determined by the state and may include a child whose development, as measured by appropriate diagnostic tests and procedures, lags behind peers in one or more of the following areas: physical development, cognitive development, communication development, social or emotional development, or adaptive development, and who, because of such delays, needs special education and related services.  This eligibility category is in addition to the 13 other disability categories listed under IDEA.  In Texas, this is called Non-Categorical Early Childhood (NCEC) and can be used for students age 3-5. 


Disability Categories (Categorías de discapacidad) – Students ages three through 21 are considered eligible to receive special education and related services if they are evaluated and found to have a “disability” that aligns with one of 13 disability categories as defined by the IDEA.  These “disability categories” are: autism, deaf-blindness, deafness, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment, mental retardation, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, specific learning disability, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury, and visual impairment.  See also Diagnosis vs. Disability Label.


Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP) (Programa disciplinario de educación alternativa) – Established under the Safe Schools Act to serve students who have committed disciplinary offenses.  A DAEP provides for the educational and behavioral needs of students in a setting other than a student’s regular classroom, either on- or off-campus. 


Disproportionality (Desproporción) – The over-representation of students from racial and ethnic backgrounds who are misidentified and wrongly placed in special education. Under IDEA, States are required to collect and analyze data to “determine if significant disproportionality based on race is occurring in the state or schools” and to take corrective actions if it is determined that disproportionality exists.


Due Process Complaint (Queja de debido proceso) – A written complaint filed by a parent or a school district involving any matter relating to the identification, evaluation, educational placement or provision of a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to a student with a disability.  Due process complaints must be filed within one year of the matter in dispute.  For more information, please see the Dispute Resolution Systems Handbook.


Due Process Hearing (Audiencia de debido proceso) – A formal legal procedure used to solve disagreements regarding the education of students who receive special education supports and services. An impartial hearing officer provided by the Texas Education Agency conducts the hearing and makes decisions about the issues.  For more information, please see the Dispute Resolution Systems Handbook.


Dyslexia (Dislexia) – Texas Education Code defines dyslexia as a disorder manifested by a difficulty in learning to read, write, or spell, despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence, and sociocultural opportunity.  For more information on Dyslexia, please see the Revised Dyslexia Handbook on the Region 10 Education Service Center website.

Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) (Intervención en la primera infancia) – Programs and services provided to infants and toddlers with developmental delays from birth through age two administered under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In Texas, ECI is administered by Texas Health & Human Services (HHS).


Early Intervening Services (EIS) (Servicios de intervención temprana) – IDEA 2004 allows schools to use 15% of IDEA funds for support services for students not identified with a disability, but who need additional academic and behavioral support to succeed in the general education classroom.  The intent of the law is to address disproportionality and misidentification of students referred for special education services.  See also Response to Intervention.


EDFacts (Banco de datos del gobierno que contiene información educacional) – An initiative of the U.S. Department of Education to put performance data at the center of policy, management and budget decisions for all K-12 educational programs.   All State Education Agencies submit their educational data to the U.S. Department of Education through an electronic data system called the Education Data Exchange Network (EDEN).


Education Data Exchange Network (EDEN) (Red de intercambio de datos sobre la educación) – A centralized system of collecting data from all state education agencies and consolidating it into a single data base, maintained by the U.S. Department of Education.  EDEN provides data on demographics, program participation, federal funding, implementation and outcomes.  This data is available at the state, local education agency, and school levels. 


Education Service Center (ESC) (Centro de Servicios Educacionales) – Texas has 20 ESCs that cover the state.  ESCs provide leadership, training and technical assistance to school districts, parents, and other community stakeholders.


Eligibility (Elegibilidad) – The determination that a student is a “child with a disability” as defined by IDEA; and as a result of the disability, the child needs special education services to benefit from education.  See also Diagnosis vs. Disability Label and Commissioner’s Rules Guidance on Eligibility Criteria


Emotional Disturbance  (ED) (Trastorno emocional) – Under IDEA, Emotional Disturbance is “...a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance:

  • An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.

  • An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.

  • Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.

  • A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.

  • A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.

ED includes schizophrenia, but does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.”  A determination of emotional disturbance must comply with criteria set forth in federal and state law as described in the Emotional Disturbance framework of the Legal Framework for the Child-Centered Process.


English Language Learner (ELL) (Estudiante del idioma inglés) – Children who do not speak English in the home and who are in the process of learning English, also referred to as Limited English Proficient students (LEP). 


Evaluation (Evaluación) – The collection of information to determine whether the student is a child with a disability, and to determine the educational needs of the child.  The team that collects or reviews evaluation data, referred to as the group of qualified professionals, must use a variety of assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional, developmental, and academic information, including information provided by the parent.  An evaluation may include giving individual tests, observing the student, looking at educational records, and talking with the student and his/her teachers and parents.


Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) – The ESSA is the 2015 reauthorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the national education law that provides for equal opportunity for all students.  The ESSA replaced the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the 2001 reauthorization of the ESEA.


Extended School Year Services (ESY) (Servicios del año escolar extendido) – An individualized educational program (IEP) for children with disabilities that is provided beyond the regular school year.  The need for ESY services must be determined on an individual basis by the child's ARD committee from formal and/or informal evaluations provided by the LEA or the parents. A child is eligible for ESY services when the child has exhibited, or reasonably may be expected to exhibit, severe or substantial regression in critical skill area(s) that cannot be recouped within a reasonable period of time.

Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) (La ley de los derechos educativos y la privacidad de la familia) – The federal law that protects the confidentiality of a student’s records in all public schools and local education agencies. 


Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) (Educación pública, gratuita y adecuada) – Special education and related services that have been provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction and without charge; meet the standards of the Texas Education Agency (TEA); include an appropriate preschool, elementary school, or secondary school education in the State involved; and are provided in conformity with the individualized education program (IEP).


Full Individual and Initial Evaluation (FIE) (Evaluación inicial, individualizada y completa) – The evaluation that is performed, at no cost to a parent, to ensure that a student has a disability and to identify all the special education or related service needs of a student.  The evaluation is not a single test; and should cover all areas of suspected disability.  For more information, please see A Guide to the ARD Process.


Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) (Evaluación de la conducta funcional) – A process for collecting information that will help determine the underlying purpose or motivation of a student’s challenging behavior (examples: seeking attention, peer acceptance, avoiding, etc.).  Once the cause of the behavior has been determined, the Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) committee develops a behavior intervention plan (BIP) to teach the student appropriate alternatives to the behavior.   See also Positive Behavior Supports and the Texas Behavior Support Initiative


Functional Skills (Destrezas funcionales) – Other needs of a student caused by the disability that affects their ability to learn.  These may include skills needed for independent living, socialization, communication, etc.


General Education Curriculum (Currículo de la educación general) – The body of knowledge and range of skills that all students in the state are expected to know.  In Texas the general education curriculum is the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). 


General Educational Development Certificate (GED)(Certificado de Desarrollo Educacional General) – Document stating that a student has passed a specific, approved high school equivalency test, usually received in lieu of a traditional high school diploma of graduation.


Graduation (Graduación) – The successful completion of all curriculum requirements and satisfactory performance on the secondary exit-level assessment instrument; successful completion of an individualized education program (IEP) and meeting the criteria set forth in commissioner’s rules in 19 TAC §89.1070; or by no longer meeting the age eligibility requirements & completion of IEP requirements.   See the state guidance document on Graduation for more information.


Guardianship (Tutela) – A legal process that removes rights and privileges from a person aged 18 and older who is considered “incapacitated” under State law.  The process involves the court system and an attorney.  Unless parents have gained guardianship of their child with a disability (or made other legal arrangements), all rights – including signing and agreeing to the IEP – will be transferred to the student when he or she turns 18.  See also Alternatives to Guardianship.


Hearing Officer (Funcionario de audiencia) – An impartial person appointed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in charge of a due process hearing.  The hearing officer cannot be an employee of any agency involved in the education or care of the child who is the subject of the hearing and cannot have any personal or professional interest that would conflict with his or her objectivity in the hearing.  The hearing officer must possess the necessary knowledge and skill necessary to serve as a hearing officer. The hearing officer issues a written decision based upon the evidence and witnesses presented at the hearing.

Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) (La ley de 1996 de responsabilidad y portabilidad del seguro médico) – A federal law that provides national standards to protect an individual’s medical records and other personal health information.


Home School (La escolarización en casa) – In Texas, children may be home schooled in lieu of attending traditional public school.   Under the Texas Education Code, home schools must be run in a “bona fide manner” with a written curriculum that covers the basics of math, reading, spelling, grammar, and good citizenship. The Texas Education Agency does not regulate, index, monitor, approve, or register the programs available to parents who choose to home school, nor does the state of Texas award diplomas to students that are home schooled.  In the event a home-schooled student wishes to enter a public school, most districts have policies and procedures in place to assess the mastery level of courses that students in home schools have taken.  The results of the assessment may be used for grade placement and/or award of credit.  Click here for information from TEA on Home Schooling.


Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) (Evaluación educacional independiente) – An evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the LEA responsible for the education of the child being evaluated.  A parent has a right to request an IEE at public expense when the parent disagrees with an evaluation conducted or obtained by the LEA.  When the parent asks for an IEE, the LEA must give the parent its evaluation criteria and where to get an IEE.  The criteria must include the qualifications of the examiner and the location of the evaluation. The IEE must meet the same criteria the LEA uses for its own evaluations. The LEA does not have to pay for the IEE if it can show at a due process hearing that the LEA's evaluation is appropriate or if it can show that the IEE does not meet the LEA's criteria.  The parent always has the right to get an IEE at the parent's expense.  Regardless of who pays for it, the ARD committee must consider any IEE that meets its criteria.


Individualized Education Program (IEP) (Programa educativo individualizado) – A written statement for each child with a disability that is developed, reviewed and revised by the ARD committee, of which parents are active members.  The IEP includes the student's present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, participation in State and district-wide assessments, transition services, annual goals, special factors, special education, related services, supplementary aids and services, extended school year services, and least restrictive environment.  For more information, see Commissioner’s Rules Guidance on Content of IEP.   See also Standards Based IEPs


Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) (Plan individualizado de servicios para la familia) – A written plan for infants and toddlers with disabilities, aged birth to three, and their families.  The IFSP is developed by the child’s parents, the child’s early childhood services coordinator, and others involved with the child.  It addresses the resources, priorities, and concerns of the family and identifies supports and services needed to enable the family to effectively support the child’s development.  Under IDEA, Part C, States must provide an IFSP for every infant or toddler with a disability and their families.


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (Ley de Educación para Personas con Discapacidades) – The federal law that grants children with disabilities the right to receive “a free appropriate public education” (FAPE).  IDEA is important because it provides the minimum requirements each state must meet in order to receive federal special education funds.  The IDEA is divided into 4 parts:

  • Part A – General Provisions, Definitions and Other Issues

  • Part B - Assistance for Education of All Children with Disabilities

  • Part C – Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities

  • Part D – National Activities to Improve Education of Children with Disabilities

The law was reauthorized in 2004 and is referred to as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) of 2004.  IDEA and IDEIA are used interchangeably when referring to the same law.


Informed Consent (Dar consentimiento, estando bien informado) – The school cannot do an initial evaluation, place a child in a special education program, or reevaluate a child without receiving the parent’s permission in writing.


Intellectual Disability  (Discapacidad de intelectual) – In Oct. 2010, President Barack Obama has signed into law, Rosa’s Law, which will change references in federal law from mental retardation to intellectual disability, and references to a mentally retarded individual to an individual with an intellectual disability.  A determination of Intellectual Disability must comply with criteria set forth in federal and state law as described in the Intellectual Disability framework of the Legal Framework for the Child-Centered Process


Interest Lists (Listas de interés) - A term used interchangeably with “waiting lists” for individuals interested in accessing community services and supports, as opposed to institutional care, through the Medicaid waiver programs.  There are thousands of people on interest lists in Texas, and it may take eight or more years between the date a person is placed on the interest list and the time services become available.  Most of the interest lists move on a first come-first serve basis.  Therefore, parents of children with disabilities are encouraged to place their child’s name on interest lists as early as possible, regardless of the child’s age or the parent’s income.


Interim Alternative Educational Setting (IAES)  (Ambiente educacional alternativo e interino) – A child with a disability may be moved to another setting for not more than 45 school days, regardless of his or her disability, when the student commits certain offenses at school, on school premises, or at a school function.  These include:

  • Carrying or possessing a weapon;

  • Knowingly possessing or using illegal drugs, or selling or soliciting the sale of a controlled substance;

  • Inflicting serious bodily injury upon another person.


The Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) committee decides where the setting will be.  Students in an IAES should continue to have access to the general curriculum and receive educational supports and related services necessary to meet the goals of their IEP. (See the Discipline Flowchart for Students with Disabilities.) 


Intervention (Intervención) – Additional instruction and teaching strategies that enable a struggling student to improve his or her academic performance in the area that he or she is having learning difficulties. 

Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (JJAEP) (Programa educacional alternativo del tribunal de menores) – Off-campus program operated under the authority of a juvenile board of a county for students that have been expelled for criminal offenses.  The main objective is to take at-risk students coming from diverse backgrounds and rehabilitate them to the point that they can be placed back in their home school districts with a good chance of academic success.

Key Elements of Early Transition (KEET) (Elementos clave de la transición temprana) – A guide (and checklist) developed to assist with planning, implementing and evaluating a smooth transition for children with disabilities from ECI to preschool programs.  The checklist will help parents understand what is required (R) in transition and what is suggested (S) as best practice.   The checklist also guides parents on which agency is responsible for each of the required areas.

Language Proficiency Assessment Committee (Comité para la evaluación de la competencia en el lenguaje) – A campus-based team that monitors the progress and needs of English language learners (ELLs) and makes state assessment decisions regarding the following:

  • State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR)

  • Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS)


Learning Disability (LD) (Discapacidad de aprendizaje) – A disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations.  The term includes such conditions as perceptual handicaps, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.  It does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage. (Referred to as “Specific Learning Disability” under the IDEA.)  See also Specific Learning Disability.


Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) (El ambiente menos restrictivo) – To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are not disabled, and special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.  For more information, see the LRE Q&A at Progress in the General Curriculum website.


Limited English Proficient (LEP) (Dominio limitado del inglés) – Same as English Language Learner.


Local Education Agency (LEA)  (Agencia local de educación) – A public board of education or other public authority legally constituted within a State for either administrative control or direction of, or to perform a service function for, public elementary schools or secondary schools in a city, county, township, school district, or other political subdivision of a State, or for such combination of school districts or counties as are recognized in a State as an administrative agency for its public elementary schools or secondary schools.  In Texas, LEAs are called Independent School Districts.


Manifestation Determination Review (MDR) (Reunión para determinar si la conducta fue una manifestación de la discapacidad) – Within ten school days of any decision to change the placement of a child with a disability due to a violation of the code of conduct, the ARD committee must meet and conduct a Manifestation Determination Review (MDR).  When conducting an MDR, the ARD committee must review all relevant information in the child’s file, including the IEP, any teacher observations, and any relevant information provided by the parents.  Parents may present any relevant information at this time for the ARD committee to review when making the determination whether the child’s conduct is a manifestation of the child’s disability.  The Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee must then answer both of the following questions:

  • Was the conduct in question caused by, or did it have a direct and substantial relationship to the child’s disability?

  • Was the conduct in question the direct result of the school district’s failure to implement the Individualized Education Program (IEP)?

(See the ARD Guide or Procedural Safeguards for actions that must be taken when the conduct is either found to be or found not to be a manifestation of the child’s disability.)


Measurable Annual Goals (Metas anuales medibles) – IEP goals that a student can reasonably accomplish within a year.  The goals must address the student’s involvement and progress in the general curriculum.  The goals must be broken down into short-term objectives, or benchmarks, only if a student is taking an alternate assessment.  Goals may be academic, address social or behavioral needs, relate to physical needs, or address other educational needs.  The IEP must indicate how the goals will be measured to show if the student is making progress toward them.


Mediation (Mediación) – One of the available options used for resolving disagreements about a child’s identification, evaluation, educational placement and the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE).  Mediation is voluntary.  If both the parent and LEA agree to participate, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) provides a trained mediator to conduct the mediation.  Mediation may not be used to delay or deny a parent a due process hearing or any other procedural safeguard.  The TEA will automatically offer mediation services to the parent and the LEA when a due process hearing is requested.  For more information see the Dispute Resolution Handbook.


Medicaid (Medicaid)– A jointly funded state-federal health care program established in Texas in 1967 and administered by the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). Medicaid is an entitlement program, which means that the federal government does not, and a state cannot, limit the number of eligible people who can enroll, and Medicaid must pay for any services covered under the program.  In July 2008, about one in eight Texans (2.8 million of the 23.5 million) relied on Medicaid for health insurance or long-term services and supports. (Texas Health and Human Services Commission)


Medicaid Administrative Claiming (Reclamos administrativos de Medicaid) – Provides school districts with the ability to receive reimbursement for certain outreach and case management activities.  See also School Health and Related Services (SHARS). 


Medicaid Waiver Programs (Programas alternativos de Medicaid) – Texas currently has various Medicaid waiver programs designed to provide Medicaid funds to allow individuals with disabilities to receive supports and services in their community as an alternative to institutional care.  These waivers are administered through the Texas Health & Human Services Commission (HHSC).  Medicaid waiver services can be especially helpful to families caring for children with disabilities.  Services can include nursing care, attendant care, respite, home modifications, medical equipment and supplies, therapies, service coordination, pre-vocational services, community living supports, assistive technology, and more.  (See Texas Long-Term Services & Supports Waiver Programs for waiver comparisons.) 

An important note to parents: Due to extremely long waiting lists, it is imperative that you put your child’s name on waiting lists as soon as possible, regardless of your income or the age of your child. 


Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (Memorándum de entendimiento) – An informal record, document, or agreement that serves as the basis of a future contract between two parties.


Modifications (Modificaciónes) – A change in what the student is expected to learn that is different from the general education curriculum (TEKS).  Modifications are only used for students with an IEP; however, not all students with IEPs require a modified curriculum.  Examples of a modification include:

  • A locally developed course to substitute for a general education course (for example, Life Skills courses or Functional Mathematics instead of Geometry).

  • Selected TEKS instead of all of the TEKS for the grade level course (for example, an 8th grader with an IEP may have goals for only 3 of the total number of TEKS required for 8th graders in math).

  • Off-level instruction and performance expectations in a general education setting. See also Curriculum Framework and Vertical Alignment.


Monitoring & State Improvement Planning Division (División de monitoreo y planificación para mejoras en el estado) –The division of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) that is responsible for reviewing State Performance Plans to ensure that States are complying with the IDEA and working toward improved results for students with disabilities.


Multiple Disabilities (Discapacidades múltiples) – Under IDEA, Multiple Disabilities are impairments happening at the same time (such as intellectual disability-blindness or intellectual disability-orthopedic impairment), the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments.  Multiple disabilities does not include deaf-blindness.  A determination of multiple disabilities must comply with criteria set forth in federal and state law as described in the Multiple Disabilities framework of the Legal Framework for the Child-Centered Process.

Narrative records (Expedientes narrativos) - Records that are written in a “story” form intended to provide a more or less faithful reproduction of behavior or observations as it originally occurred.


Non-categorical Early Childhood (Primera infancia no Categórica) – In Texas, a child between the ages of 3-5 years may be eligible to receive special education and related services under a non-specific disability category called “non-categorical early childhood” (NEC).  This disability category is assigned to preschoolers who are evaluated as having intellectual disability, emotional disturbance, a specific learning disability, or autism.  A determination of NEC must comply with criteria set forth in federal and state law as described in the Non-categorical Early Childhood framework of the Legal Framework for the Child-Centered Process.

(Note to parents: It is often difficult to diagnose very young children, who with early intervention and the appropriate services may not continue to need special education when they reach first grade.  “Non-Categorical Early Childhood” allows preschoolers to benefit from special education services without being assigned to a specific disability category.)


Notice (Aviso) - See Prior Written Notice.


Notice of Procedural Safeguards (Aviso de salvaguardias procesales) - Written document containing a full explanation of the procedural safeguards, written in the native language of the parents (unless it clearly is not feasible to do so) and written in an easily understandable manner, available under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and under regulations promulgated by the Secretary of Education.  A copy of the procedural safeguards must be given to the parents of a child with a disability only 1 time a year; Exceptions to this are that a copy also must be given to the parents upon:

  • initial referral or parental request for evaluation;

  • upon receipt of the first special education complaint filed with TEA;

  • upon receipt of the first due process hearing complaint in a school year;

  • when a decision is made to take disciplinary action that constitutes a change in placement; or

  • request by a parent.


Notice of Proposed Rule Making (Aviso de reglamentación propuesta) -  U.S. Department of Education has published regulations to implement the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA). The official version of this notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) is published in the Federal Register.

Office of Civil Rights (OCR) (Oficina de Derechos Civiles) – The federal agency that enforces Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.  OCR looks into complaints about discrimination based on disability.


Office of the Inspector General, US Dept. of Education (OIG) (Oficina del Inspector General) – Conducts independent and objective audits, investigations, inspections, and other activities in order to promote the efficiency, effectiveness, and integrity of the Department’s programs and operations. 


Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education (OSEP) (Oficina de Programas de Educación Especial) – The federal office that provides leadership and financial support to assist states and local districts in improving results for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities ages birth through 21. OSEP monitors the states to ensure that they are in compliance, or actively working toward compliance, with the federal law, specifically IDEA 2004 and Every Child Succeeds Act.


Office of Special Education & Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) (Oficina de Educación Especial y Servicios de Rehabilitación) –A branch of the U.S. Department of Education committed to improving results and outcomes for people with disabilities of all ages. OSERS provides a wide array of supports to parents and individuals, school districts and states in three main areas—Special Education, Vocational Rehabilitation, and Research—through its two main components: OSEP and RSA.  


Orthopedic Impairment (OI) (Discapacidad ortopédico) – As defined by the IDEA: “A severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by congenital anomaly (e.g., club foot, absence of some member, etc.), impairments caused by disease (poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis, etc.), and impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputations and fractures or burns that cause contractures).”  A determination of orthopedic impairment must comply with criteria set forth in federal and state law as described in the Orthopedic Impairment framework of the Legal Framework for the Child-Centered Process


Other Health Impairment (OHI) (Otro discapacidad de la salud) – Under IDEA, OHI is defined as “having limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that:

  • Is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, and sickle cell anemia; and

  • Adversely affects a child's educational performance.” 

A determination of other health impairment must comply with criteria set forth in federal and state law as described in the other Health Impairment framework of the Legal Framework for the Child-Centered Process.


Open Records Request (Petición para tener acceso a los expedientes) – A written request for public information contained in the files or records of a Texas governmental agency.   Also know as a Public Information Request (PIR). 


Paraeducator (Auxiliar educativo) – A school employee who works under the supervision of a certificated and/or licensed staff member to support and assist in providing instructional and other direct services to children, youth, and families.


Parent  (Padre) – A biological or adoptive parent, a foster parent who meets State requirements for serving as parent, a guardian authorized to act as the parent or authorized to make educational decisions for the child (but not the State if the child is ward of the State), an individual acting in the place of a biological or adoptive parent with whom the child lives, an individual who is legally responsible for the child's welfare, or an individual assigned to be a surrogate parent.


Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER) (La coalición de padres en defensa de los derechos educativos) – National center dedicated to expanding opportunities and enhancing the quality of life of children and young adults with disabilities and their families.  Based on the concept of parents helping parents, PACER provides assistance to individual families, workshops, materials for parents and professionals, and leadership in securing a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) for all children. 


Parent Training and Information (PTI) Centers (Centros de información y capacitación para los padres) – Nonprofit organizations funded by OSEP to carry out programs to ensure that parents of children with disabilities receive training and information to help improve results for their children.  In Texas, the PTI is operated by Partners Resource Network.


Peer Reviewed Research (Investigación revisada por pares) – See Scientifically Based Research.


Performance-Based Monitoring (PBM) (Monitoreo del desempeño) – An automated data system that reports annually on the performance of Texas school districts and charter schools in selected program areas, including bilingual education/English as a second language, career and technology education, special education, and certain Title programs under the No Child Left Behind Act.


Performance Level Descriptors (Descriptores del nivel de desempeño) – As part of the requirements under the No Child Left Behind Act, all states must develop descriptions of the knowledge and skills necessary for their students to achieve specific performance levels on their state assessments. In Texas, these are competency-based, content-specific phrases that describe the classroom behaviors students exhibit at each of the TAKS performance levels (Did Not Meet the Standard, Met the Standard, and Commended Performance). For parents, reviewing performance level descriptors can enhance their understanding of their child's academic strengths and weaknesses.  It can also help parents better understand state test scores and the level of performance required of students to achieve Met the Standard and Commended Performance on TAKS.


Personal Graduation Plan (Plan personal de graduación) – State law requires a school principal to designate a guidance counselor, teacher, or other appropriate individual to develop and implement a personal graduation plan for each student in junior high, middle school, or high school who does not perform satisfactorily on the statewide assessment (STAAR), or who is not likely to receive a high school diploma before the fifth school year following the student's enrollment in grade 9 (as determined by the district).  For students receiving special education services, an individualized education program developed by the ARD committee may be used as the student's Personal Graduation Plan.

Placement (Colocación) – The student’s education program, which is determined by the ARD Committee.  Placement refers to the educational program on the continuum of placements (regular classes, special classes, special schools, homebound instruction, or instruction in hospitals and institutions).  Placement does not refer to the specific location or site and must be based on the child’s IEP and determined by the ARD committee.


Portfolio (Portafolio) – See Student Introduction Portfolio.


Positive Behavior Support (PBS) (Apoyos conductuales positivos) – An approach to school discipline practices that addresses challenging behaviors through prevention-based interventions and positive behavior strategies that are not harmful or demeaning to the student.


Postsecondary Education (Educación superior) – Formal education or training beyond high school, including colleges, universities, vocational schools and trade schools.


Pre-referral Interventions (Intervenciones previas al envío a servicios) – Interventions delivered in the student’s regular classroom in an attempt to bring that student’s learning up to state standards.  These interventions are delivered to ensure that the student is receiving adequate classroom instruction and should be done before a referral for special education services is considered.  See also Response to Intervention.


Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) (Programa preescolar para niños con discapacidades) – The public school program for young children, ages 3-5.


Present Levels (Niveles actuales) – A statement in the individualized education program (IEP) of the child's present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, including how the child's disability affects the child's involvement and progress in the general education curriculum.  For preschool children, as appropriate, the statement must describe how the disability affects the child's participation in age appropriate activities.  For children with disabilities who take alternate assessments aligned to alternate achievement standards, the statement must include a description of benchmarks or short-term objectives. The statement must include the strengths of the child; the concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child; the results of the initial evaluation or most recent evaluation of the child; and the academic, developmental, and functional needs of the child.


Prior Written Notice (Aviso previo por escrito) – Must be given (in writing) to the parents of the child whenever the local educational agency (LEA) proposes to initiate or change; or refuses to initiate or change, the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of the child, or the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to the child.  Texas defines a reasonable time for providing such notice as five (5) school days.  Please see the Guide to ARD Process for details on what should be included in the notice.


Procedural Safeguards (Salvaguardias procesales)– A document that explains the parent’s legal rights under state law and the IDEA to be involved in and make decisions about their child's education. The document is often referred to as the "Notice of Procedural Safeguards" or "Procedural Safeguards Notice," because its purpose is to notify parents of their legal rights. The Procedural Safeguards must be provided to parents, at a minimum one time per year, or upon:

  • initial referral or parental request for evaluation;

  • upon receipt of the first special education complaint filed with TEA;

  • upon receipt of the first due process hearing complaint in a school year;

  • when a decision is made to take disciplinary action that constitutes a change in placement; or

  • request by a parent.

Progress Monitoring (Monitoreo del progreso) – A scientifically based practice used to assess students’ academic performance and evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. Progress monitoring can be implemented with individual students or an entire class.  Among the benefits of progress monitoring are: accelerated learning because students are receiving more appropriate instruction; better documentation of how students are progressing; higher expectations for students by teachers; and fewer referrals to Special Education.

Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights (PAIR) (Programa de protección y defensa de los derechos individuales) – A federal program that supports protection and advocacy systems for individuals with disabilities in each state.  Most PAIR programs set priorities and objectives aimed at reducing barriers to education, employment, transportation, and housing. PAIR programs also advocate on behalf of individuals with significant disabilities to promote community integration and full participation in society.  The PAIR program in Texas is administered by Disability Rights Texas.


Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) (Sistema de administración de datos de la educación pública) – A data collection system that encompasses all data requested and received by TEA about public education, including student demographic and academic performance, personnel, financial, and organizational information.


Reevaluation (Reevaluación) – Must be conducted if the local educational agency (LEA) determines that the educational or related services needs, including improved academic achievement and functional performance, of the child warrant a reevaluation; or if the child's parents or teacher requests a reevaluation.  It must be conducted at least once every 3 years, unless the parent and the local educational agency (LEA) agree that a reevaluation is unnecessary.  It must not occur more frequently than once a year unless the parent and the LEA agree otherwise.

Referral (Envío a servicios) – Referral of children for a full and individual initial evaluation for possible special education services must be a part of the local educational agency's (LEA's) overall, general education referral or screening system.  Prior to referral, children experiencing difficulty in the general classroom should be considered for all support services available to all students, such as tutorial, remedial, compensatory, and other services.  If the child continues to experience difficulty in the general classroom after the provision of interventions, school personnel may refer the child for a full and individual initial evaluation (FIE).  This referral for a full and individual initial evaluation may be initiated by school personnel, the child's parents or legal guardian, or another person involved in the education or care of the student.

Rehabilitation (Rehabilitación) – See Texas Workforce Commission - Vocational Rehabilitation Services.


Related Services (Servicios relacionados) – Transportation, and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services as may be required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education, and includes the early identification and assessment of disabling conditions in children. Related services include:

  • speech-language pathology and audiology services,

  • interpreting services,

  • psychological services,

  • physical and occupational therapy,

  • recreation, including therapeutic recreation,

  • social work services,

  • school nurse services designed to enable a child with a disability to receive a free appropriate public education as described in the individualized education program of the child,

  • counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling, orientation and mobility services, and

  • medical services, except that such medical services shall be for diagnostic and evaluation purposes only.  The term does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of such device.


Resolution Session (Sesión para solucionar quejas) – A mandatory meeting that the school district must convene within 15 days of receiving the parents’ due process complaint. The resolution session includes parents, members of the IEP team relevant to the complaint, and a representative of the school district who has the power to make a decision for the district.  The school district lawyer is NOT allowed unless the parent has a lawyer present.  Detailed information regarding Preparing for Mediation and Resolution Sessions can be found on the CADRE website.


Response to Intervention (RtI) (Respuesta a la intervención) – An early intervention model for addressing the learning needs of all students through a continuum of services which provide:

  • high quality instruction and scientific, research-based, tiered intervention strategies aligned with individual student need;

  • frequent monitoring of student progress to make results based academic or behavioral decisions;

  • data-based school improvement; and

  • the application of student response date to important educational decisions (such as those regarding placement, intervention, curriculum, and instructional goals and methodologies).

Under IDEA 2004, at-risk students should receive RtI interventions before a referral to special education can be considered.  This change in the law is designed to cut down on the number of students being referred to special education as a result of having not received adequate instruction in the general education classroom.  See also Disproportionality,  Progress MonitoringPre-referral Interventions and Universal Screening.


Restraint (Restricción física) – The use of physical force or a mechanical device to significantly restrict the free movement of all or a portion of a child’s body.  School officials may only restrain a child with a disability when their behavior poses a threat of imminent, serious physical harm to the child or others, or imminent serious property destruction.  The School must notify the parent on the day restraint occurs and must provide written notice of the restraint through the mail or other means within one school day.  For more information, see Commissioner’s Rule §89.1053 Procedures for Use of Restraint and Time-Out  or Procedural Safeguards


Review of Existing Evaluation Data (REED) (Revisión de los datos actuales de evaluación) – Must take place as part of a full individual and initial evaluation (FIE) or as part of a reevaluation.  It is conducted by the members of the ARD Committee including the parent, but it does not have to take place in a meeting.  Members review existing evaluation data about the child, including information provided by the parent, to determine the scope of the evaluation. 

School Health and Related Services (SHARS) (Programa de salud escolar y servicios relacionados) - A program that allows public schools to voluntarily participate as Medicaid providers and receive reimbursement for eligible medical and related services that are being provided to Medicaid-eligible students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).  Current SHARS services include: assessment, audiology, counseling, school health services, medical services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychological services, speech therapy, and special transportation.  These services must be provided by qualified professionals under contract with or employed by the school district, and the school district must be enrolled as a Medicaid provider in order to bill Medicaid.  If a school decides to use Medicaid to pay for services, they must obtain parental consent


School Report Card (SCR) (Informe sobre el rendimiento de la escuela) – As required by federal law, the Texas Education Agency publishes a school report card for every campus in the state.  The SRC provides a small subset of the information available in the Texas Academic Performance Reports.  Schools are required to provide a copy of their school report card to the parent or guardian of every student attending school in Texas.


Scientifically Based Research (SBR)  (Informe sobre el rendimiento de la escuela) – Federal law requires that educators must use instructional methods that have been proven effective through “scientifically based research.”  These are teaching methods that have been carefully studied, documented, and proven to have worked for other students, based on extensive data collection.  Under No Child Left Behind, SBR is defined as “research that involves the application of rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant to education activities and programs.”  Under IDEA 2004, the term is used interchangeably with “Peer-Reviewed Research."


Scientific, Research-based Instruction (Instrucción científica y basada en la investigación) – Curriculum and educational interventions that are research based and have been proven to be effective for most students.


Seclusion (Aislamiento) – Placing a child in a locked room of any kind if that room is designed solely to seclude a person and contains less than 50 square feet of space.  School officials may not confine a child unless the child has possessed a weapon, are awaiting law enforcement personnel, and confinement is necessary to prevent the child from causing bodily harm to the child or another person.   For more information, see Commissioner’s Rule §89.1053 Procedures for Use of Restraint and Time-Out or Procedural Safeguards.


Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Artículo 504 del Acta de Rehabilitación de 1973) – A civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities.  The law applies to public elementary and secondary schools, as well as to other entities.  Under Section 504, students may receive accommodations and modifications.  Click here for more information on Section 504.


Side By Side (Tabla de cotejo) – A “side by side” comparison of federal and state laws and regulations related to special education.  The purpose of the "side-by-side" is to assist educators, parents, and other stakeholders to better understand the federal regulations (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), State Law (Texas Education Code), and State Rules (Texas Administrative Code: Commissioner's and State Board of Education Rules concerning Special Education).  The document is formatted in three columns. The left column consists of the IDEA Federal Regulations published in the October 2006, Federal Register. The middle column consists of the most recently effective Commissioner's Rules and State Board of Education Rules.  The right column consists of current information regarding state law as of the most recent Legislative Session.


Shared Services Arrangement (SSA) (Acuerdo de servicios compartidos) – An agreement between two or more school districts and /or education service centers (ESCs) to share personnel or services.  This is advantageous to school districts that cannot justify the cost of employing a specialized staff member on a full-time basis.  Through an SSA, the district pays only its portion of the salary or service provided.


Short-Term Instructional Objectives/Benchmarks (Objetivos/puntos de referencia educativos de corto plazo) – Statements in an IEP that describe small steps a student must learn or master before he/she can accomplish the “measurable annual goals” set for him/her.   Short term objectives are only required for students who are taking alternate assessments.


Special Education (Educación especial) – Specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability, including instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and in other settings; and instruction in physical education.


Special Education at TEA (Educación especial en la TEA) – The department that oversees Special Education supports and services in Texas. Parents are encouraged to visit the website for information on parent and family resources, dispute resolution, and other special education-related topics.


Special Education Information Center (SpedTex) – 1-855-SPEDTEX (1-855-773-3839). Parents can call TEA’s Special Education Information Center to get timely and accurate answers to their questions regarding special education in Texas.


Special Education Rules and Regulations (Las reglas y reglamentos de la educación especial) – Federal and state laws and regulations that govern the delivery of special education in the state of Texas.


Specially Designed Instruction (Instrucción especialmente diseñada) – Ways that special education professionals adapt the content, methodology (approaches to teaching certain grade level content), or the delivery of instruction to address the unique needs that result from the child’s disability. Specially designed instruction should ensure that the child has access to the general curriculum so that he or she can meet the educational standards that apply to all children.


Specific Learning Disability (SLD) (Discapacidad específica de aprendizaje) – The IDEA defines SLD as: “A disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which disorder may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations. The term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. The term does not include a learning problem that is primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.” A determination of specific learning disability must comply with criteria set forth in federal and state law as described in the Specific Learning Disability framework of the Legal Framework for the Child-Centered Process


Speech or Language Impairment (SI) (Discapacidad del habla o del lenguaje) – The IDEA defines SI as: “A communication disorder such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment that adversely affects a student’s educational performance.”  A determination of speech or language impairment must comply with criteria set forth in federal and state law as described in the Speech or Language Impairment framework of the Legal Framework for the Child-Centered Process.


Standardized assessment (Evaluación estandarizada) – A standardized assessment (or test) is a test administered and scored in a consistent manner. The tests are designed in such a way that the "questions, conditions for administering, scoring procedures, and interpretations are consistent" and are "administered and scored in a predetermined, standard manner."   These types of assessments are typically used in schools to compare a student to his/her peers.


Standards Based IEPs (IEP basado en los estándares) – Developed by a student’s Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee, incorporates state content standards (the TEKS) at the student’s enrolled grade level. These standards should establish clear expectations about what students should know and be able to do at each grade level.   See also IEP Annual Goal Development Q&A document  by Access To General Curriculum statewide leadership (ESC 20).


State Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) (Evaluación estatal) – The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) program, which was implemented in spring 2012, includes annual assessments for

  • reading and mathematics, grades 3–8

  • writing at grades 4 and 7

  • science at grades 5 and 8

  • social studies at grade 8

  • end-of-course (EOC) assessments for English I, English II, Algebra I, biology and U.S history.

Beginning in spring 2016, STAAR English III and Algebra II will be available for districts to administer as optional assessments.


State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) (La Junta Estatal para la Certificación de los Educadores) – The state board that oversees all aspects of public school educator certification, continuing education, and standards of conduct.


State Board of Education (La Junta Estatal de Educación) – A 15-member elected board, directed by the Commissioner of Education, that establishes policy and provides leadership for the Texas public school system.


State Complaint (Queja estatal) – A written complaint that can be filed by any organization or individual claiming that a school district within the state has either violated a requirement of Part B of IDEA (the part of the federal law that contains all requirements regarding the delivery of special education services) or the state’s special education law or regulations.  State complaints must be filed within one year of the alleged violation. 


State Performance Plan (SPP) (Plan de desempeño del estado) – IDEA requires each State to develop a six-year performance plan. This State Performance Plan evaluates how well the state is doing in meeting the requirements of IDEA.  It also outlines how the State plans to continuously improve its performance in targeted areas.  The SPP is monitored by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).


Student Assessment Division (División de evaluación de estudiantes) – This division of TEA manages and oversees the development, administration, scoring, and analysis of the Texas assessment program, which includes the following assessments: STAARSTAAR SpanishSTAAR Alternate 2 and TELPAS.


Student Success Initiative (SSI) (Iniciativa para el éxito estudiantil) – The Student Success Initiative (SSI) grade advancement requirements apply to the reading and mathematics tests at grade 5 and at grade 8.  As specified by these requirements, a student may advance to the next grade level only by passing these tests or by unanimous decision of his or her grade placement committee that the student is likely to perform at grade level after additional instruction.  The goal of the SSI is to ensure that all students receive the instruction and support they need to be academically successful in reading and mathematics.


Student Introduction Portfolio (Carpeta de presentación del estudiante) – A collection of photographs, work samples, pertinent educational and medical health/medical records, family and background information, etc., used by parents as a communication tool to assist others in getting to know the student for who he or she is and not just for his or her disability.  


Summary of Performance (SOP) (Resumen de desempeño) – Upon graduation, a student with a disability must receive a summary of the student’s academic achievement and functional performance that includes recommendations to assist the student in meeting his or her postsecondary goals.  Click here for guidance on Summary of Performance.


Supplementary Aids and Services (Ayudas y servicios suplementarios) – Aids, services, and other supports that are provided in regular education classes or other education-related settings to enable children with disabilities to be educated with non-disabled children to the maximum extent appropriate. See the Legal Framework for the Child Centered Special Education Process.


Surrogate Parent (Padre subrogado) – The LEA must assign an individual to act as a surrogate for the parents, to ensure the rights of a child with a disability are protected, whenever the parents are not known; the local educational agency (LEA) cannot, after reasonable efforts, locate the parents; or the child is a ward of the State. 

Technical Assistance & Dissemination Centers (Centros de asistencia técnica y diseminación)– Regional centers funded under IDEA to provide technical assistance to schools in such areas as early intervention, education, and transitional services. Grants target various topics, disabilities, age ranges, and audiences with the goal of improved results for children with disabilities and their families.


Texas Academic Performance Reports  (TAPR) – Formerly known as the Academic  Excellence Indicator System (AEIS), this reporting system pulls together a wide range of information annually on the performance of students in each school and district in Texas.  The reports, available back to the 2003-04 school year, provide extensive information on staff, programs and demographics for each school and district.


Texas Administrative Code (TAC) (Código Administrativo de Texas) – A compilation of all state agency rules in Texas.  There are 16 titles in the TAC.   Each title represents a category and relating agencies are assigned to the appropriate title. The rules adopted by the State Board of Education (SBOE) and the Commissioner of Education are codified under Title 19, Part II, of the TAC. Title 19 is Education, and Part II is the Texas Education Agency.


Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) (Evaluación de Texas de los conocimientos y las destrezas) – A statewide assessment system used to measure student progress.  In spring 2012, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®) replaced the TAKS.


Texas Behavior Support Initiative (TBSI) (Iniciativa de Texas de apoyos para la conducta) – A state initiative to enhance the capacity of schools to educate all students, especially students with challenging behaviors, by adopting a sustained, positive, preventative instructional approach to school wide discipline and behavior management.


Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education (TCASE) (Consejo de Texas de Administradores de la Educación Especial) – A professional society comprised of nearly 1,200 members who administer and support special education programs throughout the state of Texas.  


Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) (Consejo de Texas para Discapacidades del Desarrollo) – A 27-member board dedicated to ensuring that all Texans with developmental disabilities, about 411,500 individuals, have the opportunity to be independent, productive and valued members of their communities.  The Council works to ensure that the service delivery system provides comprehensive services and supports that meet people’s needs, are easy to access, and are cost effective.  The Council also works to improve people’s understanding of disability issues.


Texas Continuous Improvement Process (TCIP) (Proceso de mejoramiento continuo en Texas) – A permanent, annual process that the State uses to continuously identify areas for improvement and implement strategies to improve special education in Texas.


Texas Continuous Improvement Steering Committee (Comité directivo de Texas) – A group of key stakeholders, including parents, educators, administrators and other professionals, appointed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to assist the State in assessing the ongoing Texas Continuous Improvement Process (TCIP).


Texas Education Agency (TEA) (Agencia de Educación de Texas) – The state department of education or state educational agency (SEA), which is responsible for the public education of all students in Texas.  The Texas Education Agency works with local school districts to ensure that all public education laws, rules, and regulations are followed.


Texas Education Code (TEC) (Código de Educación de Texas)– Contains the state laws governing education in Texas. The TEC is maintained on the web by the Texas Legislature Online.


Texas Education Telecommunications Network (TETN) (Red de telecomunicaciones para la educación en Texas) – A state telecommunications data/video conferencing system connecting the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and its 20 regional education service centers.  TETN provides a cost-effective interactive audio/video communication and data network to educators across Texas.


Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) (Sistema de Texas para evaluar la competencia en el idioma inglés) – TEA designed the Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) to assess the progress that limited English proficient (LEP) students make in learning the English language.


Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) (Conocimientos y habilidades esenciales de Texas) – The required curriculum for each grade level used in the Texas public schools. It is the general curriculum referred to in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). See the Texas Education Agency (TEA) website for a complete listing of the TEKS by content and grade level.


Texas Health Steps (THSteps) (Pasos Sanos de Texas)  –  A program that provides medical, dental, and case management services for individuals, ages 0 through 20 years, who are enrolled in Medicaid.  The program is administered by the Texas Department of State Health Services.


Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) – Operates year-round educational programs for incarcerated youth ages 10-19 within each of its institutional schools.


Texas Medicaid & Healthcare Partnership (TMHP) (La colaboración entre servicios de la atención médica y Medicaid en Texas) – A coalition of contractors that carries out the Medicaid claims payment and Primary Care Case Management administrator duties for the State of Texas, under contract with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.


Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI) (Inventario de Lectura Elemental en Texas) – A research-based classroom assessment tool that enables teachers to obtain a comprehensive picture of a student’s reading/language arts development.  Designed for students in grades K-3, the TPRI measures the students’ progress in five critical areas: phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary.  This information helps teachers identify students who may be at risk for reading failure, or who may need supports, so that they can provide effective instructional interventions to ensure that all children are reading successfully by the end of the third grade.


Texas Project FIRST (Proyecto FIRST de Texas) – (Families, Information, Resources, Support and Training) A website created to provide parents with accurate and consistent information about the special education process in Texas.  Texas Project FIRST is a project of Family to Family Network and an activity of the Texas Continuous Improvement Process (TCIP) under the auspices of the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and Region 9 Education Service Center (ESC), and is focused on helping to fulfill the goals of TEA and the Parent Coordination Network.


Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired (TSBVI) (Escuela para los ciegos e impedidos visuales de Texas) – Serves as a  public school in the continuum of statewide placements for students who have a visual impairment. It is also a statewide resource for parents and professionals. Students, ages 6 through 21, who are blind, deaf blind, or visually impaired, including those with additional disabilities, are eligible for consideration for services at TSBVI. 


Texas School for the Deaf (TSD) (Escuela para Sordos de Texas) – The oldest continuously operating publicly funded school in Texas. In addition to educating students who are deaf and hard of hearing, TSD serves as a resource center on deafness for students, parents, professionals and others throughout the state.


Texas Special Education Continuing Advisory Committee (CAC) (Comité consultivo permanente para la educación especial en Texas) – Established as a result of federal regulation and state law for the purpose of providing policy guidance with respect to special education and related services for children with disabilities in Texas. 


Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 – The place in the law that supports students who are considered “disadvantaged” by ensuring that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and to reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging state academic standards and assessments.


Transition Services (Servicios de transición) – A coordinated set of activities that includes moving from one life stage to another.   See Transition in Texas for Parents.


Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) (Trauma cerebral) – IDEA eligibility category for a student who has “an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects a child's educational performance. Traumatic brain injury applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition; language; memory; attention; reasoning; abstract thinking; judgment; problem-solving; sensory, perceptual, and motor abilities; psychosocial behavior; physical functions; information processing; and speech. Traumatic brain injury does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma.” A determination of traumatic brain injury must comply with criteria set forth in federal and state law as described in the Traumatic Brain Injury framework of the Legal Framework for the Child Centered Process.

United States Department of Education (Departamento de Educación de los EE.UU.)  (ED.gov) – The U.S. Department of Education is the agency of the federal government that establishes policy for, administers and coordinates most federal assistance to education. It assists the president in executing education policies for the nation and in implementing laws enacted by Congress. The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS) is an office of ED.


Universal Design (Diseño universal) – A way of designing products and services so that they can be used by people with the widest range of abilities.  See also Texas Assistive Technology Network resources.


Universal Screening (Pruebas diagnósticas universales) – A step taken by school personnel early in the school year to determine which students are “at risk” for not meeting grade level standards.  Universal screening can be accomplished by reviewing a student’s recent performance on state or district tests or by administering an academic screening to all students in a given grade. Students whose scores on the screening fall below a certain cut-off point are identified as needing continued progress monitoring and possibly more intensive interventions.  See also Response to Intervention.

Vaughn Gross Texas Reading & Language Arts Center (TCRLA) (Centro Vaughn Gross para la Lectura y Literatura en Texas) – A research center that provides leadership to educators in effective, scientifically based reading instruction.  Located at the University of Texas in Austin, the center is involved in a number of projects aimed at improved reading instruction for all students, especially struggling readers, English language learners, and students in special education.


Vertical Alignment (Lista de requisitos del currículo)– A document developed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for STAAR Alternate 2.  It lists the TEKS curriculum knowledge and skill statements and student expectations for reading, writing, math, science, and social studies from pre-kindergarten through exit level.  This can be a useful document for developing goals and objectives for students who required modified curriculum.


Visual Impairment and Blindness (VI) (Discapacidad visuales y ceguera) – Visual impairment under federal law means an impairment in the vision that, even with correction, adversely affects the student’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.  A determination of visual impairment and blindness must comply with criteria set forth in federal and state law as described in the Visual Impairment and Blindness framework of the Legal Framework for the Child-Centered Process.  For more information, see the State Plan for Students with Visual Impairments.


Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) (Rehabilitación vocacional) – A set of services offered to individuals with disabilities designed to enable participants to attain skills, resources, and expectations needed to compete in the interview process, get a job, and keep a job.  Work related services are individualized and may include counseling, training, medical treatment, assistive devices, job placement assistance, and other services.


Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (Agencia de Rehabilitación Vocacional) – A publicly funded state agency that provides direct and indirect services to youth with disabilities as they transition from school to work, in order to maximize their employability, independence and integration into the workplace and the community.  In Texas, the state and federally funded program for vocational rehabilitation is administered through the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).

Ward of the State (Menor de edad bajo la tutela del estado) – A child who, as determined by the State where the child resides, is a foster child, is a ward of the State, or is in the custody of a public child welfare agency. The term does not include a foster child who has a foster parent who meets the definition of a parent.


Windham School District (Distrito Escolar Windham) – Provides academic and vocational education to eligible offenders incarcerated within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). Windham operates in Institutional Division (ID) prisons and State Jail (SJD) facilities.