What is Benchmark testing and how can it help your student? After 18 months of an atypical school experience for most kids, is your student’s achievement at grade level? Or perhaps your child says they are bored in school. Is the coursework too easy? This discussion is lead by Dr. Leslie Eget, from The Summit School and Rachel Amstutz, A to Z Education Consulting.
Testing and Evaluation
Benchmark testing evaluates students, grades 1-12, in math and reading. Test results are compared against specific grade-level standards and learning goals, then used to identify a student’s academic strengths and weaknesses. After testing, specific actions can be put into place to help your student make up any shortcomings.
The Summit School Benchmark testing program is done three times throughout the year. In the fall to set a student’s baseline. In the winter to see if tutoring or any special programs have helped the student, and in the spring to gage a student’s progress. The cost is $200 for the year.
Both Dr. Eget and Rachel Amstutz suggest that the first thing parents should do if they suspect any problems is to work with your child’s teacher and/or team
Benchmark Testing vs. Diagnostic Testing
For The Summit School, Benchmark Testing is a standardized test that assesses children on grade level to see where they are compared to other children in their grade. Along with piece of mind for the parent, test results can be used as a tool with the child’s teaching team to, if needed, put supports in place. It is not a diagnostic test, it does not get to the reasons why a student is not performing at grade level for reading and math, just that they are or aren’t. In short, Benchmark Testing, at The Summit School, does not have a diagnostic component. The Summit School does offer diagnostic testing – psycho educational evaluation, psychological evaluation, social-emotional assessment, speech-language evaluations – but they are different and shouldn’t be confused with Benchmark Testing.
Rachel from A to Z Consulting, pulls together her own assessment and she looks for more than the right answer. She watches the child and assesses their problem solving ability to get the whole picture. When does the student struggle, how do they struggle? Can they sit still? When does the student get stressed, what do they do when they are stressed? What if they get the right answer but can’t explain how they got the answer? These are all important areas of assessment/testing but are not part of Benchmark Testing at The Summit School.