Teachers need tests to determine if students have learned what was expected of them and if it is the right time to move on to the next objective. The data gathered from tests identifies areas of difficulty which can help teachers adjust instruction for subsequent cohorts of students. Tests show teachers which students are achieving and the instructional strategies that are effective. Results from standardized tests can help inform educational policy, school improvement, or instructional practice and develop an action plan.
However, tests cannot be the only assessment used to help with the rating and ranking of schools, teachers, and school systems. There are inequalities in school funding between wealthy and impoverished areas which can have an impact on test results. Standardized tests are just one of the many markers of progress, and alternative assessments such as observations, performance tasks, or portfolios should also be used by teachers. Results from alternative assessments can be more effective in communicating outcomes.