Glossary of terms used on this site

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validity

a key term in educational research which relates to the extent to which the findings are soundly based and well-grounded in the evidence empirical validity is the extent to which the methods employed actually test and examine what is purported to be tested (see ecological validity  reliability).

value added

a term used particularly in relation to the performance of schools for a measurable impact on pupil attainment which is more than that statistically expected. In other words it appears that the school has improved its learners' levels of attainment more than that of other schools. However without very detailed knowledge of the nature of school composition - the socioeconomic background of learners -  and their out-of-school experiences it is by no means easy to attribute causes for such phenomena.

values

principled preferences standards judgement of what things are good valuable important (in life).

variable

a factor or condition that is subject to change especially one that is allowed to change in an educational research study to test a hypothesis.

variance

in statistics the square of the standard deviation.

verbal reasoning

the ability to understand and use words and concepts logically. It is a key aspect of intelligence testing (see intelligence quotient).

verifiability

the capacity of being verified checked as accurate true or authentic. It is a key principle oflogical positivism which held that a statement was only meaningful if it could be empirically verified (checked) or if it was tautological (see falsifiable)

verification

the process or fact of being established as authentic accurate or true.

vertical

an approach to school management which organises procedures and processes up through pupil year groups rather than across them. Thus a teacher of pastoral care in a vertical arrangement would deal with sets of learners from all age groups rather than one age group (see horizontal).

virtual communities

a group of people who primarily interact by communication media rather than face-to-face.

virtual learning environmentá(VLE)

an interactive computer software system designed to support teaching and learning. It is usually accessed through the Internet and provides a collection of different tools for those involved.

virtue ethics

an approach to moral theory that stresses the key role of character as opposed to rules and consequences. It dates back to Aristotle who held that the acquisition of virtue is the proper goal of human conduct the overall aim being to achieve a meaningful life.

viva voce

an oral examination most commonly associated with degrees at doctoral level. It is often shortened to viva.

vocational

relating or pertaining to a vocation or occupation. Vocational aspects of the curriculum are those with a particular application to the world of work.

voluntary school

in England a school in which a charity religious or faith group has a particular governing role in addition to that of the local authority.