Introduction and Key Ideas:

Standards (Content):

  • Content standards describe what students should know, understand and be able to accomplish to become scientifically literate.
  • Content standards are best developed communally, with local, district, state and national input.
  • Content standards set broad expectations for students that do not necessarily prescribe a curriculum.
  • Content standards should apply equally to all students regardless of ethnicity, gender, or cultural background.


  • Targets help assessors describe and communicate the specific acheivement expectations that are the foundation for the assessment task.
  • Targets are based on intended student outcomes (or visions of success).
  • Targets are best developed communally, with local, district, state input, and using national guidelines and standards.
  • Targets specify what types of student attainments are to be measured, such as: knowledge, reasoning, skills, products, and dispositions.
  • Performance assessment is best suited to assessing complex, multidimensional targets such as reasoning, skill, and product achievements.

background information about standards and targets


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