In March of 1998, the Goals Panel created an advisory group to examine the issue of communicating assessment data to parents. Specifically, the advisory group was charged with the following: Issue #1) How are states informing parents about the need for higher standards, changed that are taking place in their assessment system, new types of items that will be used, etc? and Issue #2) How are states reporting the actual individual student results to parents and families? Are there states that currently report these results by linking them back to the state standards, to actual test items, etc.? Are "suggested remedies" provided so parents know what kinds of activities they can do with their child to improve his/her skills in certain areas? Are examples of "good" work included?
The advisory group, comprised of state, local, and federal officials, reviewed a comprehensive set of existing materials sent from the offices of governors and chief state schools officers. The work of the group, which culminated in a report titled, Talking About Tests: An Idea Book for State Leaders , includes a variety of examples which show how some states, through their communication pieces, have: