What Is a Benchmark in Education?

timlewisnm/CC-BY-SA 2.0

In education, benchmark refers to an assortment of evaluation tests administered throughout the school year in order to find out whether or not students are meeting specified academic standards. Benchmarking is instrumental in measuring students academic growth and in designing custom curriculum to reach each student’s learning needs.

There are three types of benchmark assessments in a school setting. These are vertical teams, horizontal teams and common benchmark evaluations. The first one is administered within one subject area to measure consistency between different grade levels. Horizontal teams evaluation is applied to ensure consistency between all members of a certain classroom taking a given subject. The last type of assessment is administered to all students in the same grade level and course. Benchmark assessments are used to measure proficiency in areas such as writing, oral reports and even mathematics.