"If teachers are the elevators and the curriculum is the floor plan, where do assessments fit in?" asked Mains. "In my construction analogy, the assessments are the HVAC system, which allows you to monitor your temperature as you go along and make adjustments. Some of those tests are state-made and others will be teacher or school-made. If it gets too cold in a room, the thermostat knows to kick on the heat. Assessments allow us to monitor how well a student is learning and make adjustments along the way to our instruction. Even before the Common Core, educators were using assessments. They are a natural part of the instructional cycle, but now more assessments will be aligned to the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS)."