Please explain

Long ago, in the days when I was naive, innocent and, dare I say, young, I thought that diving was the planet’s main repository of acronyms.   SCUBA, BSAC, PADI, NAUI, ABLJ (remember those?), BC, AAS, ITC, PIE, TIE, IFT, NDC, NDO…  The list could be very long.  And boring.  And growing – let’s add in ERD.  But then I discovered education.  I had of course encountered education before, but only as an end user, one who sat in a classroom and did as she was told.  I didn’t realise that that Latin teacher whose life we made such a misery – yes, even in a respectable girls’ grammar school we could make life hell for an innocent  – I didn’t realise that she was probably an NQT.   I did have to find out what an UCCA form was but really, that was about it.

Now, however, in my present incarnation as an enormously responsible and troublesome parent, I’m having to learn a whole new vocabulary of acronyms and jargon.  I regularly used to have to stop the head during School Board meetings: “Excuse me, what does that mean? Could you explain this?”  I often feel it’s a secret code designed to keep something of a fence between the professionals on side and the parents on the other.  “There, there.  Don’t you worry your pretty head about this.”  I have been learning, of course, although I haven’t yet been to an Educational Jargon and Acronym Class for the Uninformed and Largely unTrained non-Expert.  I’ve sort of figured out NQT, LTS, ACfE amongst others and I’ve explained, as far as I’m able, Standard Grade Credit, General, Foundation, Int 1 and Int 2 to GPD on numerous occasions.  I have a glimmering of understanding about CAT and MidYis.   But NAAB?  What on earth is this and where did it spring from?

I spotted it in GP1’s diary the other day.  Physics NAAB.  Close Reading NAAB (whispers – I’m still not entirely clear what close reading is.  Reading in the smallest room perhaps, my favourite escape route from washing up as an 11yr old.) Anyhow, I posed the question.  “I dunno.  They’re easy.”  “What do you mean easy? Are they a test?”  “I dunno.”  “General knowledge?  Or do you have to revise?”  Meanwhile, his younger brother was jumping up and down excitedly.  “You have to pass them.  I heard someone else talking about them.”

I’ve been trying to figure out what it might mean, without resorting instantly to Google.   National Assessment for Archetypal Bores.  National Audit and Assessment of Boffins.  Normalised Axis of Archaeopteryx Breeders.  Anyhow, I’m no wiser.  Please someone, what’s a NAAB?  Is it important? 

14 thoughts on “Please explain

  1. Hi, thought I’d put you out of your misery. A NAB (I think it stands for National Assessment Bank) is a test which pupils sit during National Qualification courses (Int1, Int2, Higher or Advanced Higher).

    They are generally set at minimum competence level (easier than passing the final exam – at least that’s the case in Maths). Yes they are important as the pupils need these in order to gain the full qualification. However, pupils are not usually set these in class until they have demonstrated that they are ready to pass them and on the whole they do find them easy. They need a pass mark of typically between two thirds and three quarters of the available marks and if they fail first time they are allowed one resit. There are 3 NABS in the course and each one needs to be passed.

    Don’t worry about it though. It is unlikely the teacher would go ahead with the test unless they were confident that the class were ready.

  2. Ah, of course! NAB not NAAB. If only he’d spelt it right, I might have known. Or not.

    Thanks for the explanation Jenni. But I do have to confess to being curious rather than concerned.

  3. Ah – the scourge of the acronym. Since becoming involved in education in August in my role as school business manager I come across a new one every day. I facilitated a CAT last week ( no meowing or purring). I went to a training session on IEPs and PSGs…. I have an idea that I know what they are but I am prone to getting things confused. I work with DHTs, LAs, NNs….

    By the way – what is SEED known as nowadays?

    As is so often the case, Christine, your post made me smile.


  4. SEED*! I can do that one – how did I leave it off the list? You give yourself away; do you still dive?

    (*Mnemonic, not an acronym, but still most definitely jargon. Safety, Exercise, Equipment, Discipline.)

  5. Try the out looking at the Curricululm for Excellence (ACE)- I fear we are entering yet another new zone of acronyms. The joys of civil servants!

  6. thank goodness – you live in Scotland.
    For one moment I thought my four years as a school governor had all been for nought.
    I hardly recognise any of those educational acronyms – but that’s because they’re all different north of Hadrian’s Wall.

  7. I have just seen my son diving with sharks at Deep Sea World (which he loved and survived unscathed). To date that is my only link with diving. The SEED I meant was the Scottish Executive Education Department -which is probably SGED now which does not trip of the tongue in quite the same way!

  8. NHW – that’s a good one. Thanks, Beta Mum. I think it should be adopted. It would be useful on lots of occasions. North of Hadrian’s Wall – of course.

  9. The school newsletter came home today with this article:

    “Staffing – We have recently appointed xxx as temporary ASL auxiliary in school on a part time basis until June.”

    I guess this is an easy one? To me it stands for American Sign Language, but that can’t be right. Google tells me it must be either ‘Additional or Specialist Learning’ or ‘Additional Support for Learning’. I’m guessing the latter, but I wish I didn’t have to guess at all…

  10. Iota – so glad to see you’ve not gone completely! Perhaps we should have ATP (across the pond). It would work in either direction. Or would that be too confusing?

    Hello Beta Mum – I’m quite capable of having totally incomprehensible converstions with my sisters who are teachers SHW. Not much common ground, educationally speaking.

    Hi Jackie, I got that one well wrong!

    Hmmm, ASL auxiliary. Not heard of that one. Could it mean Teaching assistant, by any chance?

  11. A good reminder to us all to never take it for granted that others understand what an acronym represents. I always try to start with the full title and place the acronym in brackets – but there are plenety of examples where, under pressure to get things out, I’ve simply forgotten.

    Must try harder.

  12. Hi Don. We all do it! I can do a very good line in marine biological code speke. Biotope codes that is. I’d give an example but noone else would understand. Mind you, I’m not sure I do sometimes.

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