Acronyms and abbreviations, love them or hate them, they are now the norm, particularly in education. To help you ‘break the code’ we are now building a reference section on the website that will allow you to quickly check what they stand for. However, it is important to recognise that in the UAE the schools often represent many parts of the world with some meaning different things in different education systems. There tends to be some general usage in the English medium schools in the UAE with acronyms and abbreviations more often relating to those more commonly found in the UK, North American and international schools. However, given the international nature of the environment, the average parent has to deal with many more acronyms than they would in their home country.
Over time, WSA, (we couldn’t resist this one!), will also develop into a glossary of terms as the acronym may indicate what it is, whereas, the glossary will help you to understand it and/or its relevance to your context.
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A' Levels: Advanced Levels - the highest qualification at secondary level in the United Kingdom. Now rivals the IB (see below) as the curriculum of choice in the UK, and to a degree in the UAE. See Which School Advisor's guide to UAE curricula here.
ADEC: Abu Dhabi Education Council, Abu Dhabi's education regulator
ALIS, YELLIS: CEM Centre computer-adaptive base-line, predictive assessments.
ALIS: Advanced Level Information System for post-16;
YELLIS: Year 11 Information System for age 14 to 16.
AfL: Assessment for Learning. Formative Assessment is often referred to this in the UK.
BTEC: Work related (vocational) qualifications from the Edexcel examination board
BSME: British Schools in the Middle East
CAS: Creativity Action Service – a core component in the International Baccalaureate Diploma
CBSE: Central Board of Secondary Education (denotes the Indian based curriculum). The CBSE is by far the widest used Indian curricula used in the UAE. The CBSE curriculum is designed and developed by the National Council of Educational Research and Training, New Delhi, and prepares students for the All India CBSE Secondary Schools Examination at age 16 - end of grade 10 - and the All India Senior School Certificate Examination at age 18 - end of grade 12. See Which School Advisor's guide to curricula here.
CEM: CEM Centre, Durham University, UK. Computer-adaptive assessments
COBIS: Council of British International Schools
CIS: Council of International Schools
CISCE - Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, an alternative to the CBSE. The CISCE curriculum prepares students for the ISCE examination in the secondary school and the ISC (Indian School Certificate) examination in the final year of secondary school.
CPD: Continuous Professional Development
EYFS: Early Years Foundation Stage, UK curriculum. Which School Advisor's overview of the curriculum and approach may be found here.
I/GCSE: International/General Certificate of Secondary Education, UK curriculum
GCE: General Certificate of Education, a UK based qualification: AS level usually taken after one year with the A, Advanced Level, at the end of the second year of study
G9/Y10: Grade 9 UAE and international system, Year10 equivalent in the English system
KHDA: Knowledge and Human Development Authority, Dubai's education regulator. Go here for Which School Advisor's guide to the KHDA.
IA: International Award – the international version of the Duke of Edinburgh Award in the UK
IB: International Baccalaureate, and increasingly adopted curriculum in the UAE, and the UK. Go here for our guide to IB versus A' Level.
ICT, IT: Information, Communication Technology; Information Technology
INSET: In-service education and training
KS: Key Stage – English system with, for example, KS4 covering Y10 and 11; post-sixteen stage sometimes referred to as KS5
MUN: Model United Nations
POS: Programme of Study
Pre U: pre university examination becoming popular in private UK schools carrying more UCAS points than GCE A levels
PSHE: Personal, Social and Health Education – consideration also given to citizenship and enterprise education
QA: Quality assurance
SATs: Scholastic Aptitude Test, or just Reasoning Test, is widely used to denote the test taken to enter into US universities. However, many educational systems will use SATs at different stages of a child's development, and for different purposes. Go here for Which School Advisor's guide to SATs in the UAE.
SEF: School self-evaluation form used in school inspections
SLT: Senior Leadership Team
TEDx: community organised and run franchised version of the Technology Entertainment and Design Conferences (TED)
TES: the Times Educational Supplement
TESS: the Times Educational Supplement Scotland
THE: The Times Higher Education
UCAS: UK university admissions system. Go here for Which School's guide to university entrance in the United Kingdom.
NC: National Curriculum. Widely used for the National Curriculum of England and Wales
VELS: An Australian curriculum - Victorian Essential Learning Standards. Australia tends to have education standards imposed by state rather than country. VELS is used by the Victoria International School of Sharjah.
VLE: Virtual Learning Environment