BENCHMARKS FOR SCIENTIFIC LITERACY: Project 2061 prepared by the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science (Oxford University Press: $21.95; 418 pp., illustrated). The 150 teachers and administrators involved in the AAAS' Project 2061 (named for the year in which Halley's comet will return) compiled these guidelines for measuring the progress of students in various areas of science at the end of grades 2, 5, 8 and 12. "Benchmarks" is not a curriculum, but a set of guidelines that enable educators and parents to chart a child's knowledge of science and technology. At a time when the debate over the effectiveness of the U.S. educational system has grown increasingly acrimonious, "Benchmarks" offers a valuable yardstick for measuring progress.