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ISBN 0-86431-359-4


This guide provides policy makers with research-based information about systemwide assessment programs. Good decision making at all levels of an education system is facilitated by easily accessible, relevant, and reliable information. Many indicators provide useful input to educational decision making; but the most important indicators are those which address the central concern of education: the promotion of student learning. Education systems monitor student learning—with the fundamental intention of promoting learning—by collecting, analysing and reporting student achievement data. Given that state, national and international achievement studies are both time consuming and expensive, it seems prudent to reflect on this effort: What is the purpose of these programs? How are data reported and used? How can we ensure that data will provide evidence for informed decision making?