Document Type

Research Report

Original Publication Date


Date of Submission

June 2016


As school districts respond to test-based accountability requirements the emphasis on using data to drive decision making has most recently focused on using interim or benchmark assessment results. The use of these assessments to monitor student progress and inform instruction with the aim to improve learning is widespread. When considered in a continuum of assessments based on the proximity to instruction, benchmark assessments are located between teachers’ minute-by-minute and daily formative assessment practices that are used to direct instruction to support learning, and the summative unit assessments, or tests administered after instruction has occurred to measure learning. As such, the intended purpose of benchmark assessments blends the ideas of data-driven decision making with the principles of formative assessment. The expectation is that school administrators and teachers will use these test results to identify students’ misunderstandings and correct the course of learning in preparation for the year-end state mandated exams. Examining the extent to which benchmark assessments results are being used in this formative way was the primary aim of this study. This report presents results of a survey of elementary and middle school teachers in four school divisions about their use of benchmark assessment data to improve instruction and support student learning. This report documents the second phase of a two-stage investigation of teachers’ formative uses of benchmark assessment results. L

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