student progress during a unit—not just after—and help the teacher modify his or her teaching based on the outcome.
Students of all ages have always known, "If it's important, it'll be on the test." In the same way, when teachers convey what is important for students to learn by assessing it in their classrooms, they also convey that value to parents and other members of the community. Likewise, when the school board members and school administration officials decide to include science in the district or school assessments, they are indicating to parents, teachers, and students that science is an important part of the curriculum for all students. Of course, not just any kind of test or assessment will do. Just as the classroom teacher must assess the full range of understanding and skills called for in the Standards, so should district- or school-wide testing.
How well students are learning what is outlined in the Content Standards is only a part of what should be assessed. Assessment of how well the educational system is supporting the type of program that is outlined in the Teaching, Assessment, Professional Development, Program, and System Standards is critical. These Standards can help you under-