Definition: A benchmark is a goal derived from a large data set that can be used to measure the progress of an individual at the class, school, and/or national level. Benchmarks provide information regarding expected performance at specific times.
Why it matters: Benchmarks allow teachers and administrators to measure progress toward state and national standards. Good benchmarks do not mirror standards but do assess critical skills/knowledge needed to meet the standards. Benchmarks provide information that teachers or administrators can use to adjust practices or identify specific individuals before end of year assessments.
Example of use: A teacher may use CBM to measure a student’s progress toward nationally normed benchmarks for correctly spelled words.
Duckett, B. (2009). A Dictionary of Education. Reference Reviews, 23(5), 21-22.
Herman, J. L., & Baker, E. L. (2005). Making Benchmark Testing Work. Educational Leadership, 63(3), 48-54.