What Are District Benchmark Assessments?
Benchmark assessments are tests that monitor students’ progress within specific subject areas over the course of the school year. The District Benchmark Assessments are administered three times a year in grades 1-8 to show teachers what concepts their students understand and to identify areas where students may be struggling. The assessments are based on state standards, the same standards that students will be tested on in the spring when they take state assessments (TCAP) in grades 3-8. In High school, district benchmark assessments are given twice due to being on a semester schedule. District benchmarks are administered in the following End of Course assessments: English 1, 2, and 3, US History, Algebra 1 and 2, and Biology. The county benchmark assessments are common meaning students take the same assessment at each school, depending on their grade and or subject.
Who Takes The Assessment?
All students in 1st-12th grade take the county benchmarks. All non- End of Course subjects in high school take a common school-wide benchmark at 4 ½ week intervals.
What Subject Areas Are Students Assessed In?
Grades 1-2: District Benchmark Assessments are given in Reading / Language Arts and Math. Each assessment contains standards that reflect the content that has been taught in the classroom up to that point in time as outlined by the district’s pacing guide.
Grades 3-5: District Benchmark Assessments are given in Reading / Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. These are the content areas tested on state assessments in the spring.
Grades 6-8: District Benchmark Assessments are given in Math, Reading / Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies. These are the content areas tested on state assessments in the spring.
Grades 9-11: District Benchmark Assessments are given in English 1, 2, and 3, Algebra 1 &2, Biology, and US History.
How Are The Assessment Scores Used To Improve My Child's Education?
The assessment scores are designed as a classroom tool for teachers to:
Measure student progress
Individualize instruction to meet student needs
Plan appropriate lessons
How Is Student Improvement Measured?
Student improvement is measured by how the student performs on every district benchmark assessment. Each assessment contains questions that reflect what is being taught in class as outlined by the district’s pacing guide. Teachers analyze the data to determine skills that need reteaching and to identify skills which show a solid understanding. Assessments may count up to a quiz grade; however, it is important for students to do their best so teachers obtain accurate data of student learning.
How Do I Get A Copy Of My Student's Scores?
Contact your child’s school to get further information.
Should My Child Study For The Benchmark Assessment?
It is not necessary to study for a district benchmark assessment. Teachers are gathering information regarding how students are progressing toward mastery of skills. When students stay caught up on classroom assignments and are in regular attendance, there should not be a reason for a student to feel the need to study for a district assessment.
How Are The Assessments Given?
Most schools administer the assessment using paper and pencil. Answer sheets are scanned by the student's teacher and results obtained immediately. Hopefully schools will have the option of using on-line testing in the near future.
Are My Student's Scores Being Compared To Other Students?
No. Assessment scores are used to measure a student's understanding of material being taught in the classroom throughout the year. A student’s scores are not compared to other students. Teachers use the results to identify the concepts students are having difficulty grasping in order to give them more individualized attention and feedback. Teachers also use the scores to focus the direction of future lessons. The district analyzes the data to see trends in student learning.