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Benchmarks/Progress Monitoring


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Special Education Departments

Explanation of Benchmarks
Benchmark testing is the process of screening all students on essential skills predictive of later academic performance and should be completed three or four times per year (quarterly). It is most often recommended that testing occur three times per year.  Preferably, the first Benchmark testing would occur during the last two weeks of September, the second Benchmark testing would take place in the middle of January and the third and final Benchmark testing would take place between the last week of April and first week of May.  Ideally, school districts would cohere to this schedule in order to obtain standardized Norms for our students.

Benchmark testing should be administered in a standardized format, which often works best when the same group of individuals completes the testing for all three benchmarks.  Benchmark testing should always be done at grade-level (i.e., third grade probes should only be administered to third grade students when collecting norms).

All students must be included in the Benchmark testing each of the three times.  Benchmark goals increase over time, so a student who meets the beginning-of-year goal is not guaranteed to meet the middle or end-of-year goal. Screening all students at each time period will enable timely identification of students who are not continuing to progress in their academic development. Additionally, screening the entire school ensures the school or district a complete data set to evaluate how all students are responding to instruction.

The data collected from the benchmarks will establish ESU #1 norms.  In order for schools to participate in ESU #1 norms, schools must adhere to the following expectations:

  1. Follow standardization of administration
  2. Administer tests within the specified time period (see above)
  3. Cohere to scoring criteria
  4. Ensuring that all students are test three times a year

Fall Benchmark
September 1 - October 15, 2009
Follow-Up Date: October 5, 2009

Winter Benchmark
January 1 - 31, 2010
Follow-Up Date: TBA

Spring Benchmark
May 1 - 30, 2010
Follow-Up Date: TBA


Questions? Comments? Please email Scott or Tracey.