This glossary is a collection of terms and their definitions as they were used in a variety of Agency projects. You can use the filter to search and select the terms you want to see based on their place in the alphabet or the projects that they are related to.




Article 9 the UN Convention defines accessibility as:

To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas (UN, 2006, p. 9).

Accessibility is a right to be ensured in all areas. These include education and the right to appropriate education and active citizenship through access to a flexible curriculum through personalised learning approaches.


Able to be reached, entered or understood.

Accessible information

Within the i-access project accessible information is understood as information provided in formats which allow every learner to access its content ‘on an equal basis with others’ (UN, 2006, p. 9). 

Alternative / augmentative communication (ACC)

Alternative / augmentative communication (ACC) refers to extra ways of helping people who find it hard to communicate by speech or writing to communicate more easily. This can include signing and gesture (unaided systems) or books and special computers (aided systems) (International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, cited by UNESCO IITE/European Agency, 2011, p. 101).


Assessment refers to the ways teachers or other professionals systematically collect and use information about a learner’s level of achievement and/or development in different areas of their educational experience (academic, behaviour or social).

Assessment adaptation / modification / accommodation

Assessment adaptation / modification / accommodation refers to an alteration in the way a general assessment is done or test is applied. Assessment accommodation allows learners with special educational needs to show what they know or what they can do by removing the barriers that may be intrinsic in the assessment itself (for example, providing written test questions orally to learners with visual impairments).

Assessment for learning

This term is used in a general way in many countries to refer to assessment procedures that inform decision-making about teaching methods and next steps in a pupil’s learning. Assessment for learning is a process usually carried out in classrooms by teachers/other professionals. It involves finding and interpreting evidence and working with learners to establish where they are in their learning, the next steps to be taken and the best ways of moving forward.

Assistive technologies (ATs)

Assistive technologies (ATs) are:

adaptive devices that enable people with special needs to access all manner of technical products and services. ATs cover a whole range of ICTs, from customised keyboards and speech recognition software to Braille computer displays and closed captioning systems for TV (European Commission, cited by UNESCO IITE/European Agency, 2011, p. 101).

The British Assistive Technology Association states that:

AT is any item, equipment, hardware, software, product or service which maintains, increases or improves the functional capabilities of individuals of any age, especially those with disabilities, and enables them more easily to communicate, learn, enjoy and live better, more independent lives (Chambers et al., 2016, p. 33).

At-risk children

Children can be at risk of disadvantage because of their individual circumstances or because they, or their families belong to a group which is disadvantaged in society. These children may include those with disabilities, with mental health problems, in alternative care, at risk of neglect/abuse, undocumented child migrants/asylum seekers, those whose families live in poverty or are socially disadvantaged, those whose families have a migrant and/or second language background, those whose families have limited access to services, Roma and traveller children (European Commission, 2014, p. 68).


Obstacles that prevent learners from accessing a full range of learning opportunities and limit their participation in society. Disability is often considered to be due to ‘disabling barriers’ which can be addressed by designing enabling, accessible environments. Barriers can be due to attitudes, language, culture, organisation of support services, power relations and structures within society.

Baseline assessment

Baseline assessment is a first assessment in a general or specific area of functioning to determine a learner’s profile of strengths and weaknesses at a particular time. Baseline assessments are often given at the start of teaching and learning programmes. They serve as a starting ‘measure’ to assess progress over a period of time.


A reference point or standard against which performance or achievements can be assessed. A benchmark refers to the performance that has been achieved in the recent past by other comparable organisations, or what can be reasonably inferred to have been achieved in the circumstances.


Captions are intended for audiences who cannot hear the dialogue. In contrast to subtitles, captions include a description of who is speaking, as well as sounds.

Career counsellor

A career counsellor is a person who informs, advises, orients and helps young people to make the right choices in transitions between the areas of education, profession and life. Counselling reduces levels of unemployment and social exclusion while increasing young people’s mobility and active citizenship. It provides meaningful transition opportunities for learners. (Refer to:;

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