A few years ago, my department members and I sat down together to come up with a list of "must-know" topics for all Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and Precalculus students. We came up with the following condensed list, which represented that subset of questions which students should be able to answer on any and every unit test throughout the year.
The idea is that at every level of math, teachers were spending a lot of time reteaching content which was supposed to have been learned at an earlier level, and it was felt that if everybody could agree to put one problem of the types of questions found on this document, our students would be better-prepared for subsequent courses.
This list is by no means complete, and it doesn't even necessarily highlight higher-level thinking skills. However, if students were not in possession of these skills, they would be at a significant disadvantage relative to their peers.
I recommend you use this as a resource when writing assessments, but simply cutting and pasting problems onto your assessments.
Please download the pdf preview file first, so you can see exactly what's included; the product file is a word document, which you may personalize for your students.
Keywords: mandatory, essential, required, significant, key topics, Jonnard