- Standards are a basis for comparison; a reference point against which other things can be evaluated. They set agreed-upon expectations for what children should know in certain subjects by certain ages.
- Curriculum is an integrated course of studies which sets out the materials and the approaches that teachers use to help young people learn.
- Assessment is the act of judging or assessing a person or situation or event to determine what students know, understand and can do and hopefully to establish next what the steps should be in their learning.
- Accountability is responsibility for systems for tracking student performance, determining which schools and teachers are succeeding or struggling, and providing support or intervening where necessary.
"For anyone still confused, a track-and-field metaphor might help: The standard is the bar that students must jump over to be competitive. The curriculum is the training program coaches use to help students get over the bar. The assessment is the track meet where we find out how high everyone can jump. And the accountability system is what follows after its all over and we want to figure out what went right, what went wrong, and what it will take to help kids jump higher."