What is a benchmark and what purpose does it serve? How much testing is too much testing? Should districts rather than classroom teachers be preparing and requiring assessments? What if a teacher wants to plan their curriculum not in alignment with the district benchmarks? Should that be allowed?
Benchmark assessment according to http://www.sdst.org/documents/Regular%20Education%20assessment%20definitions.pdf
are designed to provide feedback to both the teacher and the student about how the student is progressing towards demonstrating proficiency on grade level standards. Well-designed benchmark assessments and standards-based assessments (see below) measure the degree to which students have mastered a given concept; measure concepts, skills, and/or applications; are reported by referencing the standards, not other students' performance; serve as a test to which teachers want to teach; measure performance regularly, not only at a single moment in time (PDE/SAS 2009)
In other words, benchmark assessments are short tests or quizzes that are given throughout the school year that give teachers immediate feedback on how a student is doing and whether they are meeting academic standards.
There are different forms of benchmark assessment. According to http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/5317, there are different types of assessment. There are Standardized Benchmark Assessments which:
- are given periodically, from three times a year to as often as once a month;
- focus on reading and mathematics skills, taking about an hour per subject;
- reflect state or district academic-content standards; and
- measure students' progress through the curriculum and/or on material in state exams.
and there are teacher-developed benchmark assessments. Both allow teachers to fine tune their teaching based on the results of the tests and "can support students and teachers in identifying ...
This solution provides information about standardized testing and how it is used within the classroom.