ABC’s of Teacher Acronym’s Part One…SBG, RTI, BIP, and PBIS

Each year I feel like there are a whole bunch of new acronyms in teacher talk.  Often times when I first hear people use it I feel so behind because it seems as if I am the only one who is not “in the know” of this new program, or expectation, or plan, or whatever the case my be.

So I thought it would be helpful to share some of the more popular ones being used now and some resources that are pertinent to them and that  I have found helpful –

SBG – standard based grading

This is a newer one to me and when I first saw it I was like – “oh no, not another acronym” but I actually think there is a lot to this one.   Standard based grading is explained really well here  with lots of pictures and examples and here with a great write up from Educational Leadership.  basically you grade and assess students on the specific standard to measure their acquisition of meaning.

The term SBG is new to me but in NYC we have been using this method for a long time.  Not all students get A, B, C, D letter grades they get the 1, 2, 3, 4 level number system which equates to –

  • Level 1 – Far Below Grade Level Standards
  • Level 2 – Approaching Grade Level Standards
  • Level 3 – Meeting Grade Level Standards
  • Level 4 – Exceeding Grade Level Standards

In the middle and upper grades they also receive this grading system along with a letter grade.  So while a traditional report card looks something like this –

Traditional Report Card

A SBG Report Card looks more like this –

SBG Report Card

I think SBG is a very fair way to grade because it assesses students on specific skills not just general ones like English, Math, Science, etc.  But for a lot of people it is new and can be a difficult transition especially when kids are used to getting letter grades.

RTI – response to intervention

RTI was the hot topic at the ASCD conference this past year in San Francisco.  Basically it is a way to determine if a student has a learning disability and then do what is necessary to ensure a student is provided the correct services through an IEP. has a great list of resources and articles on RTI.

In many ways, we as teachers do this instinctively when we see a student who is struggling – but with the 2004 passage of the IDEA act (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) RTI has become much more a front in the education world.  Below is a good chart that outlines RTI –

RTI Model

RTI is a great means of supporting students with learning disabilities and once identified students with extreme difficulties should probably have the next acronym.

 BIP – behavior intervention plan

A BIP or Behavioral intervention plan is a legal part of an IEP for students with behavioral problems.  We use BIP’s all the time for some of our most difficult students.  Basically it provides an outline for all teachers of a particular student to follow to help ensure that a student is provided interventions that will help them learn.  For example a student who has difficulty focusing because of ADHD  may have a part of their BIP read – “after 20 minutes of sitting they can get up and walk around for 5 minutes if needed.”

An example of  some BIP forms;

BIP Review Form

Another BIP Review Form


BIP is great for students with documented problems and we have had a lot of success with them. But they don’t account for all students which is why I am also a big fan of PBIS!

PBIS – Positive Behavior Intervention and Support


SWPBIS – School-wide Positive  Behavior Intervention and Support 

Positive Behavior Intervention and Support has done wonders for many of the students and the teachers in my school.  Instead of constantly pointing out the negative behavior and feeding the negative attention, teachers reward the positive behaviors and in turn change the tone of the classroom.

At first it may seem difficult to not constantly point out the bad but often times the good students are not recognized.  In time the difficult ones want the attention to and they change their ways.  This video is a great way to see it happening in a school –

Now I am sure many of us are already doing this – but there are a lot of resources out there to support it and there is a big movement towards it.

I know that I have only covered a small amount of teacher acronyms and as I said, I will revisit this topic but until there – here are several good sites that have lists of many of the acronyms in education

Teaching acronyms 

More teaching acronyms

And of course if you have any questions – drop me a comment!!!









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