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4 Best Practices to Use Midyear Benchmark Assessment Data

4 Best Practices to Use Midyear Benchmark Assessment Data

So, you’ve administered midyear benchmark assessments ahead of spring high-stakes testing. Now, what do you do with the results? Like any assessment, midyear benchmarks are only as valuable as the strategies you employ using that data. Here are four ways to make these assessments a truly valuable exercise for you and your students.

1. Keep students informed

No assessment should be undertaken without treating the students like the stakeholders they are. Even elementary students should be able to employ the testing strategies that work best for them, as well as interpret the data that come from such testing.

Although you have probably been conducting formative assessments throughout the year, your students will be able to tell that midyear benchmarks are a step up—as well they should. Any chance to demonstrate their growth deserves to be taken seriously. Once testing is complete, spend some time showing students how to gauge their growth using previous data and how to formulate a plan to prepare themselves for the rest of testing season.

2. Provide a view of success

Data study should be far more than just going over the correct answers from the test and showing students graphs of their progress. You should be detailed in explaining the test’s expectations to your students. And, because students just took the test, the memories of what they did will be fresh in their minds, making it easy for them to compare their performance with the objectives.

3. Give students another opportunity for input

Midyear benchmarks are intended to help you make adjustments to instruction—whether in curriculum, grouping, or time allotted for certain skills. Another way to provide students with some agency in what happens in the classroom is to have them formulate ideas for steps that should be taken based on the new data. They now know where their skills lie and how far they have to go, so it’s only logical to at least hear their ideas for strategies. This practice generates guaranteed buy-in and engagement with an end-of-the-year push that is stressful for everyone involved.

4. Use assessment season as conference season

The busiest times for parent conferences are at the beginning and end of the school year. Both are valuable, but if those are the only times you meet with parents, you’re missing out on an opportunity to truly affect student growth. Reach out to parents with data from your midyear benchmarks, explain their student’s growth and the plan moving forward, and provide them with ideas on how they can help. Even if this is done through email or online rather than in person, it enlists another ally in the test-prep process and keeps parents informed during a busy time in the school year.

With these strategies, midyear benchmarks can become an engine for growth, engagement, and partnership that ensure a successful push toward high-stakes testing and the end of the school year. Interested in learning more about how Edmentum can support your benchmarking approach? Check out our online programs for classroom assessment!

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Beth Holine

Beth Holine joined Edmentum in 2011 as a Marketing Specialist. In her role, she works to provide teachers and educators with innovative, useful resources. Beth has a B.S. in Psychology from the Iowa State University.