WYSIWYG*… Acronyms and Jargon as Communication?

Posted by Angie / on 01/05/2016 / 0 Comments

Categories: About SCEE/CCSSO


When I started my position as an EIR (Educator in Residence) here at CCSSO (Council for Chief State School Officers), the first learning curve I climbed was the vegetable soup used in conversations with new colleagues at the national and state level. During my past two years in this work, I have continually met individuals faced with the same dilemma, do I stop the conversation and ask for clarification, or just hope my favorite browser search will enlighten me. What I discovered after a few months, is that many of the folks in the conversation were not clear on the meaning either. Of course they knew what work the group was involved, but at times, when I would ask I could get blank stares, or questions of others in the room.

Recently I was able to attend a Communications convening and loved the conversation surrounding what we should call the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Should we call it ESSA and how do we pronounce it? The Every Student Succeeds Act? In the professional community, jargon was to create a more specific language to better understand complex ideas. Acronyms were to create a shorthand of that jargon. In 2015, I would argue at least in the realm of education, both have created more of an issue in relating ideas to the public and even to ourselves. However, they don't seem to be going anywhere soon and we need to understand what we are discussing.

To that end, I offer a spreadsheet that I have created as a key of sorts as I continue my work with a number of states and organizations. Others have found this helpful so I thought many of you as my colleagues might as well. At full disclosure and as the fine print... by no means is this an exhaustive list. If you find inaccuracies I would love to be informed. What is ‘fun' is when there are more meanings for the exact same acronym. Some are state specific. I am sending a link to my excel sheet, so you can edit and add your own if needed. Happy New Year!!! And maybe a New Year's resolution should include using less abbreviations in our discussions and be crystal clear with each other and our stakeholders ... or maybe this resolution will follow "I'll go to the gym more often this year".

Excel doc of 183 to get started...
*What You See Is What You Get

aaaa CCSSO Acronyms.xlsx


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