For educators looking to better understand their students’ performance and implement evidence based teaching techniques, benchmark testing is an essential component of modern schooling. Benchmark testing uses standardised assessments to evaluate students’ knowledge, skill and competency, the data from which can then be used to better understand student learning needs and create effective outcomes for learning.
Benchmark testing has become an important tool for teachers and educators to get ahead of the curve and improve the way that their students are assessed not just within their local environment but also at a wider national and global level.
Some of the reasons why benchmark testing has become so important include:
Benchmark Students’ Skills and Knowledge
Test design is a difficult problem for most teachers. It needs to be fair, accessible but also help push their students to figure out the depth and breadth of their knowledge. This task becomes even more difficult when you are trying to compare the performance of individuals and groups between cohorts to track differences over time.
Professional benchmark testing is designed to go beyond the curriculum and provide insight into the core skills and knowledge of students over a longer timeframe than a single term or semester. This helps to benchmark school students’ skills and knowledge at the individual level, as well as the group as a whole, offering actionable insight into what can be improved and what the school is excelling at.
Provides Comparisons at the Individual, Group and Global Level
By a single school’s standards their students might be considered over or underperforming, however, if testing is only siloed within classrooms or schools it can be difficult to know how these students are performing compared to the system as a whole.
Benchmark testing provides insights at multiple levels. At the individual level it can show students and teachers what knowledge and skills a particular student is competent at, and allows them the data that they need to invest time and energy into improving student outcomes.
At the school level it can show what faculties might require additional assistance and at the global level it can demonstrate how the system as a whole works compared to other countries.
Improved Allocation of Resources Based on Evidence
This multi-level ability to benchmark and compare performance is vital to decisions about where resources can be allocated to boost overall learning outcomes.
This isn’t just useful at the state level but also within individual institutions, where educators can use evidence to decide where the school might need to improve and where they can be rewarded for excelling compared to other schools.
Offers Educators Access to Data-Driven Teaching Frameworks
Collaboration between teachers, educators and schools is vital for improving the outcomes of every school in the system. There is a lot to be learned from one another, which is why benchmark testing is so useful, offering hard evidence on the kinds of techniques that work.
This allows educators to look to each other for better methodology and implement strategies to improve student performance between institutions.