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ACRN America's Career Resource Network (ACRN) consists of state and federal organizations that provide information, resources and training on career and education exploration.

Accountability. Concept that school administrators, teachers, parents and students themselves need to be accountable for how well students learn and achieve.

Achievement gap. Documented gap in test scores between students from various ethnic groups, i.e., Asian, white, African American and Latino.

Baccalaureate degree. A degree from a four-year postsecondary institution.

Career. Sequence of occupations and other life roles that express a person's commitment to work and reflect her or his pattern of self-development. Each person has one, lifelong career that may include many occupations and jobs. A career also includes education activities and decisions, and the way a person's work life is integrated with other life roles such as family, community, and leisure.

Career clusters. Groupings of classes around a particular career field (such as business, health, the arts or technology). Students who select a career cluster learn about that particular field and may also relate their basic academic classes (i.e., English, mathematics, social studies and science) to that career field.

Career Development. Lifelong process of exploring, choosing and acting on educational, occupational and related life role options. In the broadest sense, career development can be understood as that aspect of human development that includes how individuals incorporate their values about work, their beliefs about their own interests and abilities, their decisions about education, the ways they negotiate transitions into and out of work experiences and their unique interactions between work and other life roles.

Career Goal. Something that a person wants to achieve related to the sequence of occupations and other life roles that express his or her commitment to work and reflect a total pattern of self-development.

Career Management. The active and conscious participation in shaping one's career and accepting responsibility for the activities and choices made toward that end.

Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act Amendments of 1998. Governing legislation for the nation's vocational and technical education programs.

Employability Skills. General skills that are essential for job success but are not necessarily linked to specific occupational knowledge. The Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) Report, released in 1991 by the U.S. Department of Labor, identified core foundation skills (e.g., reading, critical thinking, and sociability) and workplace competencies (e.g., skills that deal with resource and information management, interpersonal skills, technology and systems skills) that are considered to be universal employability skills.

General Education Development Certificate (GED). Alternative to a high school diploma for people who have dropped out of high school or are otherwise unable to complete a standard high school curriculum.

Geographic Mobility. The ability to relocate, especially when required for a job.

Job. A paid position with specific duties, tasks, and responsibilities in a particular place of work (e.g., photographer at Best Pictures).

Lifelong Learning. Continuing to acquire knowledge and skills, through both formal and informal education, throughout one's life.

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). "Assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas," given at regular intervals in schools across the country. Also known as "The Nation's Report Card."

Non-Traditional Occupation. An occupation not traditionally performed by members of a particular sex (e.g., male secretary or female construction worker), defined specifically as nontraditional for a worker of a particular sex if other workers of the same sex make up 25% or less of all workers in that occupation.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Major education reform legislation passed by the Bush Administration in January 2002, emphasizing high academic achievement, educational accountability for all students (regardless of race, ethnicity or socio-economic status), educational choice for parents and students, and flexibility in managing education programs.

Occupation. A cluster of jobs with common characteristics that require similar skills (e.g., photographer).

Occupational Skills. Knowledge, abilities, attributes and personal qualities a worker needs to complete a specific work task.

OVAE (Office of Vocational and Adult Education). Office within the Department of Education that oversees high school reform, vocational and technical education, community colleges and adult education.

Parent Involvement. Idea that parents should be involved in their children's education by ensuring they are well cared for and ready to learn, reading to them often, turning ordinary home activities into learning activities, and participating fully in the life of the school, up to and including decisions on curriculum and administration.

Postsecondary education. Education or training after high school.

Postsecondary transition. Moving into college, training or work after high school.

PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment). Program run by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that surveys the knowledge and skills of 15 year olds in the major industrialized countries. It measures how well students nearing the end of compulsory education have mastered the skills necessary for full participation in society.

Remedial education. Education that covers material students should already have learned by virtue of their age or grade level, but which they have failed to master.

Section 118. Section of the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act Amendments of 1998 that sets out the legislative authority for and responsibilities of the Americas Career Resource Network

Self-Concept. The inner picture a person has of himself or herself, especially regarding his or her competence, worth, and attractiveness.

Self-Efficacy. A person's belief that she or he can achieve a desired outcome.

Transferable Skills. Abilities, attributes and personal qualities a worker can use in more than one occupation.

Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). International assessment of mathematics and science achievement in 21 countries, with data and trend analysis from three separate tests offered in 1995, 1999 and 2003.

Work. Conscious effort aimed at producing goods or services for the benefit of self or others. Work may be paid or unpaid.