Making the Most Out of Your Benchmark Assessment Data - Minds in Bloom (2023)

Benchmark Assessments

Sometime soon, you’ll be asked to administer a benchmark assessment to your students. (MAJOR EYE ROLLS! (For real- The acronym BA is far too close to BM!) What exactly is a benchmark assessment for? All through your teacher preparation in college, you heard the terms formative assessment and summative assessment. Both of those are vital parts of teaching students. But what they didn’t talk about as much was interim assessment.

Making the Most Out of Your Benchmark Assessment Data - Minds in Bloom (1)

A benchmark, or even a campus common assessment, falls under the category of interim assessment. Interim assessment is just that important time between formative assessment and summative assessment. Just as it sounds, interim assessment pauses between formative and summative assessment to gather a quick snapshot of how things are going at that exact moment. A benchmark, my friends, is NOT summative assessment! So don’t freak out!


Purpose of Benchmark Assessments

Benchmark assessments always seems to come at the worst time! Can I hear an AMEN? Because you aren’t always aware of what they are designed to assess, they can feel like a complete waste. The larger the district, the more it feels this way! Benchmark assessments can also make you feel bad about yourself as a teacher. (I’m raising my hand for this!) Most districts will have charts and graphs displaying school and teacher results and how they all compare against each other. It’s no wonder that a lot of teachers hate when it’s time to give a benchmark assessment!

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But benchmark assessments really do have a purpose! They’re designed as a stopping point for teachers to look at what they’ve been doing , gauge their success, and map out the future plans for their instruction. Administered correctly, a benchmark assessment or a campus common assessment should be more formative then summative.

You may not get a choice of how and when you want to give these tests, but chances are, you do get some control over what you do with your students after the test has been taken.


Whatcha gonna do with all that benchmark data? The worst thing you could do is administer the test and not learn anything from the results! The district and campus will be gathering their own data, but you BETTER be gathering data for yourself too! It isn’t always a matter of correct and incorrect questions. The data can tell you where your students’ instructional needs are. For example, in math, students may master the algorithms of multiplication and division, but get lost in deciphering the story problem. In this blog post, I’m going to share with you some strategies to help both YOU and YOUR students get the most out of your benchmark assessment results.


A visual Data Walk will show you trends. It will show you the questions students missed plus the questions that students think are the most difficult to answer. This knowledge is powerful stuff in shaping your upcoming lessons to help students master the content.

Making the Most Out of Your Benchmark Assessment Data - Minds in Bloom (3)

Making the Most Out of Your Benchmark Assessment Data - Minds in Bloom (4)

The Visual Data Walk starts as students begin taking the test. As you are passing out the test to the students, also hand them 5 sticky notes. Explain to the students that as they are taking their test, you want them to think about the difficulty of each question. Tell them that after the test is over, you would like for them to write each of their 5 hardest questions on a sticky notes. On each note will be the question number and the reason why it was so difficult. Students do not have to put their names on their reflections.

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Create Your Question Posters

After you have collected all of the students’ tests, write each question number and the corresponding skill on one single piece of paper. Use 11×14 sheets to make an even larger “poster.” Or you can edit/print the pages that are included with the free resources in this post. Then you will post each page around the room or down a hallway leaving some space between each one so that students have room to move around. If you want an even better visual, group the posters by skill! If you have 5 questions that are assessing multiplication representations, place those five posters near each other. This helps visually see patterns by skill! You can even cut and paste the actual question from the test onto the poster. When everyone is finished with the test, have the students place their sticky notes on the correct posters you hung around the room.

After the test has been graded:​

When is the test has been graded, have students place a sticker on every poster that corresponds with the questions they missed. This helps the students know that they are often not alone when it comes to solving difficult questions. I use inexpensive dot stickers. You can grab thousands of them for just a few bucks on Amazon.


This entire strategy is anonymous. No students should feel shame over their success with the benchmark. If you are afraid that a student is embarrassed by placing their stickers on the posters, just do it for them.

Making the Most Out of Your Benchmark Assessment Data - Minds in Bloom (5)


Once all the stickers and sticky notes have been placed around the room, you can easily see which questions were the most difficult for the students, which were the most missed, and which may have seemed easier than they actually were. Use these results to help adjust your teaching for the needs of your students. Be creative in looking for other data too! For example, you can use a different color sticky note to poll the students about a different test attribute.


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Individualized Review

The Visual Data Walk strategy gives great data about the test. But it’s also important that students are able to see what they missed and correct any misconception or any gap that caused them to get the question on the benchmark assessment wrong. This is where individualized review comes in.

When I first started teaching, after we would take a test, I would have all of the students come to the carpet. We would start at the beginning and go through every question. I didn’t want anyone who missed a question to not learn from their mistakes! It didn’t take long before I realized that it only took a few questions before the students became disengaged with the whole thing. When I started doing individualized review, the students began getting better results out of the activity.

How to Individualize Test Review

There are a couple of different options for individualizing review. The first would be for you to work out and solve the problem on a piece of scratch paper. Then you could take a picture and your work that you could share with the students. This is a relatively quick way to individualize your benchmark results.

But if you want students to get the most out of their review time, you can record yourself solving the problem with a program like screencastify or even with your iPhone and some scratch paper. You simply solve 1 problem at a time and save it as its own video. (SEE VIDEO BELOW!) You’ll find that as you’re creating your video, it’ll feel a lot like it does when you are going over questions with your whole group. But now, only the students that need to hear your lesson have to sit through it.

Once you have each of your questions on a separate picture or being taught in a separate video, you can use the magic of Google to make it easily accessible for all of your students. Couple these videos with a reflective piece, and your students are good-to-go!


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Learning From Mistakes

The purpose of having students review the questions they missed on their benchmark assessments is to ultimately give them an opportunity to learn from their mistakes. As students are working through their individualized review, I require them to complete a reflection piece. It’s a simple form that prompts them to reflect on the reasons they missed the problem and gives them an opportunity to show what they have learned through your subsequent instruction. If you want to go a step further, you can track down another question or two that students can answer that assess the same skill in a little different way. This helps you see if students still need additional instruction.

This short video will show you how to use the free resource you can find in this post!


Grading Benchmark Assessments

To Grade or not to grade. Many teachers ask whether they should assign a grade to their students based on their benchmark assessment or their campus common assessment. Ultimately, it’s up to you and the policy your district may have. If you think about it, a benchmark assessment is an assessment that falls somewhere between formative and summative . If you count it as a daily grade, it holds the same value as many other daily activities that you would do. You do want to be careful when assigning it as a major grade. That’s because it’s usually the district that has created the assessment. They’re creating it based on the scope and sequence that they developed before the school year started . You know your class best. Maybe you needed to slow down in certain parts of the school year. Maybe you haven’t even taught some of the material that is on the benchmark. If you are required to count the assessment as a major grade, think about making adjustments to account for the review and new learning that has taken place through the individualized review.


Making the Most from District Benchmark Assessments

When it comes time to take a district assessment, don’t stress out too much about it! Remember that its purpose is to give data about the academic strengths and weaknesses that are present in a single snapshot of time. Perhaps you have some weaknesses that are revealed through the data. That’s OK! Just use the information that you’ve gathered to elevate the students from where they were to where they’ll ultimately be at the end of the school year. That’s when the real summative assessment takes place.

Make sure you grab the free resources to help you prepare for the next benchmark assessment you take and the data that you gain from it!

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What is a benchmark score on a test? ›

A benchmark is simply a test that helps you compare similar products. Each of our benchmarks produces a score. The higher the score, the better the performance. So instead of trying to compare devices by looking at their specifications, you can just compare the benchmark scores.

What assessment data are used to improve student performance? ›

The assessments best suited to guide improvements in student learning are the quizzes, tests, writing assignments, and other assessments that teachers administer on a regular basis in their classrooms. Teachers trust the results from these assessments because of their direct relation to classroom instructional goals.

Should benchmarks be graded? ›

Grading Benchmark Assessments

Many teachers ask whether they should assign a grade to their students based on their benchmark assessment or their campus common assessment. Ultimately, it's up to you and the policy your district may have.

How long does a benchmark test take? ›

Educators should plan on at least 25 minutes to administer the Benchmark Test. Because the Benchmark Tests are adaptive, students may take anywhere from 10-60 minutes to complete the test, depending on their skill level.

What happens if you fail a benchmark? ›

Students are given remediation in their reports based on their incorrect answers. So even if they fail, they can get the help they need to get back on track.

What is an example of a benchmark assessment? ›

What is an example of a benchmark assessment? An example of a benchmark assessment is a weekly spelling test given to all students. This is a benchmark assessment because it can be used to measure how well students are meeting the learning goal of learning how to spell.

How do you use assessment data to improve teaching and learning? ›

Teachers use the data to assess a student's performance, strengths, weaknesses, and progress. Additional information on an individual student's background allows the teacher to diagnose possible causes of poor performance and apply remedies.

How assessment improve quality of learning? ›

The assessment process itself helps students develop critical thinking and analysis skills. Students who assess themselves are learning and improving their cognitive skills while assessment is happening.

How can you improve the use of assessment results? ›

Tips. Distribute the report of the results as widely as possible. Provide information that will assist faculty interpretation of the results. Act on the results in ways that will improve the assessment process, student learning, or both.

What are 4 of benchmarking best practices? ›

6 Benchmarking best practices
  • Start early. If you want to be the best, it's never too early to start benchmarking. ...
  • Have a timeline. ...
  • Choose an appropriate peer group. ...
  • Look outside your industry. ...
  • Stick to meaningful metrics. ...
  • Focus on improving operations.
18 Aug 2017

What makes a good benchmark? ›

A good benchmark will have transparent set of public rules and, therefore, predictability for investment managers. » Appropriate. The benchmark is consistent with the manager's investment style or area of expertise. » Reflective of current investment opinions.

What are the three types of benchmark? ›

Three different types of benchmarking can be defined in this way: process, performance and strategic. Process benchmarking is about comparing the steps in your operation versus the ones that others have mapped out.

Can you retake a benchmark? ›

If a student receives a score on the Benchmark Test 1 that doesn't seem appropriate for their skill level, School Administrators and Educators can reassign the Benchmark Test to their students so they can take it again.

How many questions are on the benchmark test? ›

How long are the Benchmark Assessments? Each of the three benchmark assessments have been constructed to be taken within a single class sitting. The tests contains 30 multiple choice questions each. Generally, students should take between 30 and 45 minutes to complete an assessment.

How are benchmark scores calculated? ›

How are benchmarks calculated? The scores that make up the benchmarks are simply the average scores for the particular group you are comparing to. If you are looking at average factor scores for your organisation for 2022 vs 2021 you are comparing the average score for this year vs the average score for last year.

Why do benchmarks fail? ›

Lack of long-term management commitment Since managers are not as familiar with specific work issues as their employees, they tend to underestimate the time, cost, and effort required to successfully complete a benchmarking project.

Is a benchmark test important? ›

Benchmark exams are also formative in that they help teachers drive their future instruction. While traditional formative assessments are given in one class, benchmark exams are usually given across many different classes or across an entire school. The best benchmark exams give data quickly, so teachers can act on it.

What are the 4 types of benchmarking? ›

There are four main types of benchmarking: internal, external, performance, and practice.

Which is the best example of benchmarking? ›

Benchmarking examples are instances of companies or departments measuring their results against other departments or others in their industry, a practice that can help them understand how they're performing compared to their competitors.

What is a benchmark answer? ›

A benchmark is a standard, or point of reference, against which other similar things can be compared.

Why is it important for educators to use data from assessments? ›

While teachers more often than not have access to a large amount of student data, it's important that they use that which can make the most student achievement gains in the classroom. Meaningful assessment data delivers a snapshot of what students know, what students should know, and what students do not yet know.

How can you help students to understand their assessment results? ›

Ask students what their interpretations of the data are and how they can use it to improve. With consistent use, students will guide themselves through a comprehensive study. Understanding the various assessment types and the data they produce is beneficial for your instructional decision-making all year long.

How can you use data to improve your teaching strategies? ›

How to Use Student Data to Drive Instruction
  1. Establish Colleague and Administrator Buy-In. ...
  2. Invest in the Right Data Management Tools. ...
  3. Set Thoughtful Data Points to Track. ...
  4. Analyze the Data and Identify Gaps and Opportunities. ...
  5. Turn Data Into Action. ...
  6. Share Findings Among Educators.
11 Jun 2020

What is the most important function of assessment? ›

The most important part of assessment is the interpretation and use of the information that is gleaned for its intended purpose. Assessment is embedded in the learning process. It is tightly interconnected with curriculum and instruction.

What is an example of assessment of learning? ›

Frequent progress monitoring is an example of assessments for learning, where a student's academic performance is regularly assessed between benchmarks to determine if the current instruction and intervention is positively impacting student achievement or if adjustments need to be implemented.

What are the 5 purposes of assessment? ›

Assessment purpose triangle. This graphical aid of the assessment purpose triangle depicts each of the basic purposes of assessment on opposing sides: assessment to support learning; assessment for accountability; assessment for certification, progress, and transfer.

What should you do to improve in your assignments and assessments? ›

The most important thing is to start and start early. If you give yourself enough time to plan, research, write and revise your work you won't have to rush.
  1. Step 1 – Understand the assessment task. ...
  2. Step 2 – Plan. ...
  3. Step 3 – Do your research. ...
  4. Step 4 – Write. ...
  5. Step 5 – Review.

How do you ensure that an assessment is accurate? ›

6 Ways to Ensure Your Assessment Practices are Fair and Unbiased
  1. Don't rush. ...
  2. Plan your assessments carefully. ...
  3. Aim for assignments and questions that are crystal clear. ...
  4. Guard against unintended bias. ...
  5. Ask a variety of people with diverse perspectives to review assessment tools. ...
  6. Try out large-scale assessment tools.
14 Aug 2019

How can I improve my assessment plan? ›

Assessment for project-based learning should be planned to:
  1. Use a variety of assessment methods to meet different purposes.
  2. Embed assessment throughout the learning cycle.
  3. Assess the important assessment standards and learning goals of the project.
  4. Assess higher-order thinking.
  5. Engage learners in assessment processes.

What are some examples of benchmarks? ›

Some of the most popular benchmarking methods include:
  • Peer benchmarking. ...
  • Best practice benchmarking. ...
  • SWOT analysis.
  • Process benchmarking. ...
  • Performance benchmarking. ...
  • Collaborative benchmarking. ...
  • Call center. ...
  • Technology.

What is the most important goal of benchmarking? ›

The goal of benchmarking is to make continuous improvements and implement changes in business products, methods and services. Therefore, benchmarking practices provide a better understanding of customer wishes and expectations. This is because customers are the most important data source at every stage of comparison.

What is benchmarking explain in detail with example? ›

Benchmarking is a process of measuring the performance of a company's products, services, or processes against those of another business considered to be the best in the industry, aka “best in class.” The point of benchmarking is to identify internal opportunities for improvement.

What is the key to successful benchmarking? ›

Benchmarking is most effective when organizations compare their cost-per-hire against similar organisations metrics, making a meaningful comparison. The organization overall business strategy can affect cost-per-hire.

What are the 3 objectives of benchmarking? ›

Organizations use benchmarking technique for the following objectives.
  • To improve its performance.
  • To understand relative cost position and to identify opportunities for improvement.
  • To gain strategic advantage by focusing on capabilities critical to building strategic advantage.

What are the 5 steps of benchmarking? ›

Benchmarking Process Steps
  • #1. Identify the components to benchmark. ...
  • #2. Analyze the components. ...
  • #3. Integrate operational goals. ...
  • #4. Formulate an action plan. ...
  • #5. Incorporate the best practices. ...
  • Improve the quality of the product. ...
  • Monitor organization's performance effectively. ...
  • Maximize sales and profits.
21 Aug 2018

What is a benchmark in simple terms? ›

bench·​mark ˈbench-ˌmärk. : something that serves as a standard by which others may be measured or judged. a stock whose performance is a benchmark against which other stocks can be measured.

What is the most challenging part in doing benchmarking? ›

3 Portfolio Benchmarking Challenges and How to Solve Them
  • Challenge Number 1: Data Availability, Quality, and Centralization. ...
  • Challenge Number 2: Benchmarking Topics are Too General or Too Specific. ...
  • Challenge Number 3: Getting Value from the Results. ...
  • Solving Portfolio Benchmarking Challenges with EnergyWatch.
12 Apr 2021

What are common benchmarks? ›

Some widely used benchmarks in the stock market are the Wilson 5000, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the Russel 2000.

Do universities look down on retakes? ›

Almost all universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, officially accept exam resits, meaning that there's no chance of being barred from applying. However, the university will be aware that you've achieved the grade by resitting, and so may affect your chances of receiving an offer.

Do Resits get capped at 40%? ›

If you resit a module (pass at the second attempt), your overall module mark will be capped at 40%. If you have not submitted for any assessment component, you must resit that assessment component. If you have not met the threshold component mark for any assessment component, you must resit that assessment component.

Do universities accept retakes? ›

Do universities accept A-Level retakes? Yes – many students successfully enter higher education after retaking their A-Levels. Universities, even the top Russell Group institutions, shouldn't penalise you for resitting. Some universities will be happy to keep your offer open for the following year.

What are benchmarks for assessment? ›

What are assessment benchmarks? The assessment benchmarks are simply the matters against which the development proposed by a development application must be assessed. a local categorising instrument, which covers a planning scheme, a temporary local planning instrument or a variation approval.

What is the focus of benchmark assessment? ›

Benchmark assessment, also known as interim assessment, is a system used to evaluate the academic competency of a selected group of students. These academic evaluations help institutions and relevant educational agencies see if the evaluated students are on par with current grade standards.

What happens if you fail a benchmark test? ›

Students are given remediation in their reports based on their incorrect answers. So even if they fail, they can get the help they need to get back on track.

How many times can you write NBTs? ›

6. May I write the NBTs more than once? The NBT Project allows an individual to write the NBT twice. Note that you must pay the total fee both times.

How do you calculate a benchmark score? ›

Next, the benchmark scores are computed by averaging the scores of the related survey items. Finally, the scores are standardized around the mean of the 3-year cohort so that respondents' scores have a mean of 50, weighted by full- and part-time attendance status, and a standard deviation of 25.

What is an example of a benchmark number? ›

A benchmark number is any multiple of 10, 100, and sometimes multiples of 25. To make it kid friendly, especially for the minds of 2nd graders, I show them how all the benchmark numbers come from tens, and then we build up to a more complex understanding as we go.

What is a student benchmark? ›

The term benchmark is widely used in education to indicate grade-level learning goals for all students. These benchmarks are scores on certain assessments that have been validated through research to predict that a student will meet later learning goals.

What is a benchmark SAT score? ›

The SAT benchmarks are designed to reflect whether or not a student has a high likelihood of being successful in subject-specific first-semester courses. The grade- level benchmarks associated with the PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, and PSAT 8/9 are based on expected student growth toward the SAT benchmarks at each grade level.

What is a benchmark explain with examples? ›

What are benchmarking examples? Benchmarking examples are instances of companies or departments measuring their results against other departments or others in their industry, a practice that can help them understand how they're performing compared to their competitors.

What are the 3 benchmarks? ›

Three different types of benchmarking can be defined in this way: process, performance and strategic. Process benchmarking is about comparing the steps in your operation versus the ones that others have mapped out.

What are the three benchmarks tests? ›

The National Benchmark Tests comprise three multiple choice tests, written as a combined Academic Literacy and Quantitative Literacy (AQL) test, and a separate Mathematics test. The AQL is a three-hour test that consists of an Academic Literacy (AL) section and a Quantitative Literacy (QL) section.

What are the four types of benchmark? ›

There are four main types of benchmarking: internal, external, performance, and practice.

Why is a benchmark test important? ›

Your NBT results, along with the NSC results, are used to help universities determine whether you are ready for academic study and will influence their decision to accept your application or not.

What's a perfect SAT score 2022? ›

It could determine whether or not they get into their desired college or university, affecting their entire future, or it may affect the scholarships they get. The minimum score on the SAT is 400, and the highest you can get is 1600.

What is a 70% SAT score? ›

SAT Score Percentiles Chart
SAT ScoreNationally-Representative PercentilePercentile Among Actual SAT Test Takers
87 more rows

Does 2022 lower SAT scores? ›

The 2022 average score was 1050, compared to 1060 for the Class of 2021.


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