This glossary describes the meanings of some commonly used words and phrases found in reports. Download a copy here:

Word or phrase Description 
1:1 correspondence  In reading, the child says the word as they point to it in the text. In maths, the child says the number word as they touch the item or number. 
Articulation The formation of clear and distinct sounds in speech.  
Auditory discrimination  The ability to identify the differences between phonemes (units of sound), e.g., f and s. 
Aural  Relating to hearing.  
Assessment The wide range of tests and observations teachers use to understand a child’s learning and performance.  Assessments may be formal (involving scores) or informal (based on observations of pupil performance). 
Birmingham SEN Toolkits A set of resources to support the identification and tracking of progress for pupils with cognition and learning difficulties who are working significantly below the level of their peers, including relevant teaching and learning strategies. 
Blending Combining sounds to make a word. For example, a pupil hears ‘p-i-g’ and merges these sounds together to say the single word pig
Cardinal number The final number when counting a set of objects which tells us how many are in this set.  
Cognition The thinking skills and thought processes that a pupil has acquired through their prior experience. 
Cognition and learning One of the four broad areas of need in the SEND Code of Practice (2015). 
Consonant blends A combination of consonants that are placed together without being separated by a vowel (e.g., black, street, pest, milk). 
Decoding The process of translating print into speech by matching single letters (e.g., p) or combinations of letters (e.g., sh) to their corresponding sounds. Successful decoding occurs when a pupil uses their knowledge of letter-sound relationships to accurately read a word. 
Diagnostic assessment   A formal assessment which measures what students already know and understand. 
Differentiation  A wide variety of teaching techniques and lesson adaptations which teachers use to teach a diverse group of pupils, with diverse learning needs, in the same classroom/environment. Common adaptations include simplifying tasks, small groups or different forms of recording ideas (e.g., typing, drawing). 
Digraph Two letters which make one sound, e.g., th, sh, oo.  
Dysregulation See emotional regulation.  
Emotional regulation  A person’s ability to identify their own emotions and use strategies to address those emotions to return to a more balanced state. The state of ‘dysregulation’ is experiencing emotions that you are not equipped to handle in an adaptive way and, in turn, do things that may create larger problems. 
Engagement  Thedegree of attention, interest and participation that a pupil shows about their learning. 
Enunciation (aka Articulation)  The clear and accurate pronunciation of words, which can be understood by the listener. 
Expressive language  The way a pupil puts words together into phrases and sentences in order to communicate their thoughts and feelings.  
Fluency  The ability to perform a task confidently and easily. Speaking fluency refers to the ability to express oneself easily and articulately. Reading fluency refers to the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and correct expression. 
Formal methods  A way of performing a task in a structured and systematic way, which has been taught. For instance, using a standard written method for solving a number task. 
Grapheme Written letters (e.g., p) or combinations of letters (e.g., sh) which represent single sounds. A grapheme is a way you write a phoneme. 
Grapheme-phoneme correspondence (GPC) The process of matching graphemes and phonemes together and vice versa. GPC allows pupils to blend words both written and orally. This is a key skill in learning to read and spell. 
High-frequency words (aka common exception words, tricky words)  Common words which occur very often in written texts (e.g., the, is, and, etc.) When pupils learn to recognise these words on sight, it supports their ability to read fluently. 
Inference  When a reader or listener works things out using clues from a text, also known as ‘reading between the lines’. The pupil needs to look for what is suggested, rather than just what is being stated clearly or obviously in a text. 
Intervention  Specific learning activities usually delivered to individuals or small groups, based on key skills in which the pupil(s) need extra support e.g., reading, maths and emotional regulation. Interventions are usually at regular times and take place for short periods away from the classroom. 
Learning difficulty Problems processing certain kinds of information and accessing certain areas of learning. Examples of ‘specific learning difficulties’ include dyslexia (primarily affecting reading and writing) and dyscalculia (primarily affecting maths). A pupil may also have a range of (or ‘general’) learning difficulties, affecting their processing of more than one kind of information or area of learning. 
Learning disability A disability which affects the way a person learns new things throughout their lifetime, including the way they understand information and how they communicate. A learning disability can be mild, moderate or severe. 
Letter formation  The ability to write the letters of the alphabet correctly.  
Morphology The study of words, how they’re formed and their relationship with other words in the same language. Morphology involves the structure of words, such as stems, root words, prefixes, suffixes and parts of words.  
Morpheme A meaningful linguistic unit that cannot be divided into smaller meaningful parts. Words with one morpheme include child and kind, words with two morphemes include childish and unkind, words with three morphemes include childishness and unkindly
Non-verbal  Not involving or using words or speech.  
Non-word reading  ‘Nonsense words’ made up of the letters and sounds a pupil has already been taught. Words like bip, steg or shromp
Onset and  rime Onset and rime are two parts of a word. The onset is the initial consonant sound, blend, or digraph in a single syllable word or syllable. Not all words have onsets, such as the word oar. The rime is the first vowel phoneme followed by all the other phonemes (at in rat; esh in fresh). Words that share the same rime are considered rhyming words (e.g., fresh, mesh, flesh). 
Operation (maths) An activity or a mathematical process applied to solve a problem. The most common operations are add, subtract, multiply and divide (there are many more though, such as square and square root). 
Oral Spoken or verbal (not written).  
Ordinal number A number that tells the position of something in a list. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. 
Outcomes The desired objectives and results those schools, families and pupil want pupils to achieve. They are generally agreed upon, written down and worked on consciously. Outcomes can relate to a range of areas including learning/formal education, social and emotional skills, independence, life skills and wellbeing. 
Pencil grips Small, impermanent attachments that fit onto a pencil which help a pupil to have a functional and accurate grasp. 
Percentile A test score which indicates the number of individuals who would perform at the same level or below, out of 100 individuals of the same age. For instance, if a pupil’s percentile score is 50th (exactly average for their age), this means that the pupil performed at the same level or higher than 50% of pupils of the same age. If the pupil gains a percentile score of 75th, they performed at the same level or higher than 75% of pupils of the same age. 
Phoneme The smallest units of sound which cannot be broken into any smaller parts. Examples include the s sound in the word sing or the ng sound in the word ring. Their written forms are called graphemes. 
Phonics A way of teaching pupils how to read and write. It helps pupils to hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language. Phonics is a key part of the curriculum in the foundation stage and years 1 and 2. 
Phonological awareness The ability to hear and distinguish sounds. Phonological awareness is required to be able to make letters and sounds go together in words, which is intrinsic to reading and writing. 
Post-teaching  Summarising and reflecting on a learning activity.  
Pre-teaching A strategy that involves teaching pupils vocabulary, concepts, or skills prior to a lesson. It can provide pupils with more knowledge and confidence when approaching a new topic. Pre-teaching can be done with whole classes but is often done with individuals or small groups who need extra help. 
Processing speed  The fluency with which the brain receives, understands and responds to information. 
Reading comprehension  The ability to read text, process it and understand its meaning.  
Receptive vocabulary  The words that a pupil recognises and understands when hearing or reading them. 
Scaffolding  When ateacher strategically puts supports into a lesson so that the students are better able to learn the material and master the tasks set. Writing scaffolds include oral rehearsal and writing frames. 
Segmenting  The ability to separate a word into its individual sounds, which can then be written down to form written words e.g., c-a-t. 
Self-regulation   See emotional regulation. Mutual regulation is where adults/children help another regulate their emotions. 
SEMH  Needs involving social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) are a type of special educational need in which pupils have difficulties in managing their emotions and behaviour. They often show inappropriate responses and feelings to situations, meaning they often have trouble in building and maintaining relationships, they can struggle to engage with learning and to cope in the classroom. Children with SEMH needs can often feel anxious, scared and misunderstood. 
SEND  Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can affect a pupil’s ability to learn. They may affect a pupil’s: learning (e.g., reading and writing), communication, understanding, behaviour, ability to socialise, concentration levels and physical ability. 
Sensory needs  Through our senses, we all process and interpret information received from the environment and from within our bodies. This information gives us a sense of who we are, where we are and what is happening around us. A pupil may have difficulty working out what is happening inside and outside of their bodies as the sensory information may not be accurate. This would indicate that a pupil has sensory needs. 
Sheffield Support Grid A locally developed guidance document for school staff and other professionals. It is intended to help schools allocate support to learners with additional needs in a fair, consistent and transparent way.  It also gives strategies to schools to support learners with different needs. 
Sight reading  The ability to recognise and read a word on sight, without needing to decode it. 
Social communication  The way in which a pupil uses language within social situations. This includes the ability to use language for different purposes (e.g., to greet people and make requests), to adapt languageto meet the needs of the listener or situation (e.g., talking differently to a baby versus an adult, talking louder when there is lots of noise), and following the ‘unspoken rules’of conversation (e.g., taking turns in conversations and standing at an appropriate distance from the other person). 
Subitising Instantly recognising the number of objects in a small group, without counting. 
Standardised score Test results may be expressed as standardised scores. These are converted from the raw scores (the points awarded from a particular test), by comparison to the results obtained from a large sample of individuals of the same age on the same test. In this way, meaningful comparisons can be made between an individual’s performance in different tests and between individuals. Standardised scores translate to percentile scores. 
Trigraph Three letters which make one sound, e.g., igh, ure, air.  
Visual discrimination The ability to see differences between objects that are similar. For example, visual discrimination allows us to see the words was and saw as different, even though they have the same letters. 
Word retrieval   The processes involved in mentally identifying and then producing the word or words needed to express a thought or to name an object. Difficulties in word retrieval (also called ‘word-finding’) refer to when a pupil knows and understands a particular word but has difficulty retrieving it and using it in their speech. This is similar to when we feel that a word is ‘on the tip of my tongue’. 
Working memory A form of memory that allows a person to temporarily hold a limited amount of information at the ready for immediate mental use. It is considered essential for learning, problem-solving, and other mental processes.