Glossary of terms used on this site

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Term Definition

literally a 'belief in nothing' it is applied to a range of views most notably materialismwhich in denying that mind or spirit exists rejects immortality or an after-life. It is also applied to politically or socially destructive behaviour.


cognitive apprehended by reason as opposed to empirical or sense experience.


the theory that universals such as 'goodness' or 'redness' do not exist in reality but are merely grouping terms humans use. In modern times it has become associated with theories which stress that because our understanding of reality is constructed through language it remains beyond our direct experience.


proposing or prescribing a law (of nature).

non sequitur

a conclusion lacking any valid argument or one drawn illogically from what has gone before.


the theory that moral judgments merely express a person's attitudes and do not make any assertions about the properties of the object or action in question. It is also known as emotivism.


applied to time in an educator's working life which does not involve direct teaching or contact with learners. It is viewed as essential for effective planning preparation and assessment.


of statistical procedures where there are no assumptions about the distribution of the sample set (see parametric)


usually applied to elements of communication without words or symbols such as gestures movements facial expressions or postures. These are seen as vital aspects of relationship-building and so of effective teaching but often overlooked as inessential.


of an assessment where an individual's score indicates the relationship of that performance to the performance of the group in question. Thus one can get results in rank order - first second third and so on or can use terms such as above average or below average.

normal distribution

a frequency distribution which follows the normal pattern of a 'bell-shaped curve' so with most instances grouping around the mean with a few at either end of the spectrum.


in social theory the way in which norms and standards are set by dominant groups any deviation from which is then seen as abnormal deviant or problematic. It was  also a term used in special education for the belief that the aim should be for all those involved to be encouraged and supported to lead as 'normal' a life as any other member of society.


tending to establish a standard or rule prescriptive.


the ability to be numerate to manipulate numbers to understand numerical relationships and processes. In the past it was referred to as arithmetic one of the three Rs. With literacy it is seen as an essential outcome of education for all.

numerical equality

this refers to provision where each relevant person or group is given the exact same of whatever is to be distributed. In the classroom, this might mean each pupil being given the exact same amount of the teacher's time (see equality; proportional equality)

Aliases (separate with |): equality|numerical
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