(1) "Benchmark" means expectations for a student's knowledge, skills, and abilities along a developmental continuum in each content area. That continuum is focused at three points: the end of grade 4, the end of grade 8, and upon graduation (grade 12) .
(2) "Content standard" means what all students should know, understand, and be able to do in a specific content area, such as reading, mathematics, or social studies.
(3) "Performance level" means the level of achievement in broad, general terms.
(a) "Advanced level" means superior performance;
(b) "Proficient level" means solid academic performance for each benchmark, reaching levels of demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter, including subject-matter knowledge, application of such knowledge to real-world situations, and analytical skills appropriate to the subject matter;
(c) "Nearing proficiency level" means a student has partial mastery of the prerequisite knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at each benchmark; and
(d) "Novice level" means a student is beginning to attain the prerequisite knowledge and skills that are fundamental for work at each benchmark.
(4) "Performance standard" means the specific expectations for performance in each content area at each of the three benchmarks. Performance standards define the quality of performance and describe the performance to be demonstrated.