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  • Writer's pictureJ. Mallais

Avoiding International School Abbreviations

Have you ever been reading an article or someone's post somewhere and come upon an abbreviation that you didn't know, only to then go Google it to see what it is? It happens to Heads of Schools, recruiters and HR all the time when reading teaching candidates' CVs and cover letters -- the difference is, they might not Google those abbreviations, but simply place that particular CV or cover letter on the 'No' pile.

TLDR: Try to only use abbreviations once you've already established what it stands for. That being said, there are abbreviations so commonly known that there won't be any need to write out their long forms. Read on for how to best use abbreviations in your CV and cover letter and for a list of some common abbreviations from the international school world.

Here are some examples of abbreviations that you should explicitly explain the first time you're using them:


Long form

Any School Name

The first time you mention a school, you should write out its full name, followed by its abbreviation in parentheses. Ex. Singapore American School (SAS) which incidentally is also short for Shanghai American School (SAS) thus illustrating the importance of using the school's full name

Any University Name

To avoid any confusion, it's always best to write out any university name in full, followed by its abbreviation in parentheses. Ex. UC could be University of California or the University of Cincinnati


American / Australian International School - best to specify


​Association of International Schools in Africa / Asia

American International School of Abu Dhabi / Abuja


​International School Consortium / Consultancy / ISC Research

International School of Carinthia / Como / Curacao / Curitiba

And here are some common abbreviations from the international school world that you can use without needing to explain or define them in your CV or cover letter:


Long form - Explanation


Association for the Advancement of International Education

- online professional development program


American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages


American Education Reaches Out

- standards designed for US curriculum schools overseas


Association of International Educators and Leaders of Color


Association for International School Heads


Association for Music in International Schools


Advanced Placement - US College-level courses taken in HS


Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

- known for its journal articles on educational leadership

BA / BEd / BSc

Bachelor of Arts / Education / Science


British International School


Common Core State Standards


Council of International Schools


Council of British International Schools


Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice


East Asia Regional Council of Schools

- offers workshops & conferences for member schools


Educational Collaborative of International Schools

- formerly known as European Council of International Schools


International Baccalaureate (Organization)


(International) General Certificate of Secondary Education


(International) Postgraduate Certificate of Education


International Schools Review - website for anonymous reviews of IS


International Schools Services - known for teacher recruitment, school supply orders, and owning a number of international schools


International Society for Technology in Education

- organization to promote tech integration into teaching & learning

MA / MBA / MEd / MFA / MSc

Master of Arts / Business Administration / Education / Fine Arts / Science


Mediterranean Association of International Schools


Middle States Association Commission on Elementary and Secondary Schools - accrediting organization for IS


New England Association of Schools and Colleges

- accrediting organization for IS


Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools

- offers workshops & conferences for member schools


Next Generation Science Standards


Northwest Evaluation Association - creates academic assessments, best known for MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) testing


Professional Development


Professional Learning Community


The International Educator - known for teacher recruitment, an international newspaper listing jobs and schools back in the days before the internet (still being printed & mailed to subscribed schools but also available online) and Principals' Training Center (PTC) / Teacher Training Center (TTC) - professional development for international educators and leaders


University of Northern Iowa - known for their overseas teaching fair for international educators every February


Western Association of Schools and Colleges

- accrediting organization for IS


Educational consortium started in 2002 by WIsconsin, Delaware and Arkansas; now more commonly known as an assessment tool to measure students' progress in their English learning

I'd recommend googling any abbreviation before using it to see if there could be confusion. Generally the rule of thumb is if there's ever any doubt, it's best to use the full name with its abbreviation in brackets after it. You can then use the abbreviation for any other time after that in the same document.

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