COMMON CORE Benchmarks

Benchmarks (grades 3 through 8) monitor students' understanding of Common Core reading and math standards before students are evaluated on summative assessments. Unique reading and math forms may be administered up to four times a year and each can be completed in just one class period. They provide instructional feedback about the scope and sequence of a district's Common Core curriculum and instruction.

What do Benchmarks cover?

  • Math Benchmarks cover all domains in mathematics, with a focus on the major standards emphasized at each grade level.
  • Reading Benchmarks cover all three domains in reading: key ideas and details, craft and structure, and integration of knowledge and ideas. Passages increase in text and reader task complexity throughout the year.

Why use Benchmarks?

Benchmarks provide teachers with a common measure for instructional feedback across grade levels, schools, and districts as part of a comprehensive Common Core assessment program. They follow the recommended scope and sequence outlined in the Measured Progress COMMON CORE Standards Pacing Guide.

The Standards Pacing Guide was informed by research conducted by the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas and outlines the standards included in each reading and math Benchmarks form. Standards are grouped to coordinate with intervals of instruction, ensuring that key standards and appropriate text complexity are addressed during the academic year. Benchmarks are paced to follow a logical sequence of instruction that coincides with the learning progressions outlined in college- and career-ready standards.

Using Benchmarks, teachers can:

  • Assess students with constructed-response and evidence-based selected-response items, in addition to traditional selected-response items.
  • Better determine which Common Core standards can be assessed, and when.
  • Address a range of cognitive demand (DOK level) in each form.
  • Address multiple sets of standards.


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