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and local districts. Although the Standards specify the important content that students should learn to become scientifically literate, they do not specify how it is arranged in the units and courses that make up each district's curriculum. The curriculum is left to the decisions and creativity of teachers, administrators, and community members in each district.
Teachers, administrators, and parents must share a strong commitment to providing students with a foundation of scientific skills and knowledge crucial for success in modern society. The Standards are designed to be adapted by states and local districts to serve their own commitment to excellence.
An Example of Poor Coherence
Some current testing practices clearly illustrate the pitfalls of poor consistency and coherence in education. If the tests used by the school district or state are not consistent with the curriculum materials the teachers are using, the tests will not measure what was taught. When parents receive the test scores, they will be concerned about their children's poor performance. They will not understand that the reason for the gap is not that the student has not learned but that the student has not been tested on the knowledge that he or she has learned in class. Furthermore, teachers and students will not have useful information to help improve the learning process, and money will have been wasted. Attention to the Standards can help provide coherence among curriculum, teaching, and testing, thus preventing these problems.