Assessment Benchmarks

In this article:

Using Benchmarks Charts

The benchmark numbers are generally the highest numeric score a student can get that does not meet the benchmark. For example, if the benchmark is 144 and the student score is 144, the student performed below benchmark. If the student scored 145, the student is above the benchmark.

FAST Benchmarks

Note for 2022-23: Looking for the quick reference document? The document was created by a non-FastBridge/non-Department of Education source and will no longer be available due to the lack of capacity to maintain and ensure the accuracy of the tables on a document that is duplicating information that is available from the vendor in the FastBridge system. The official Fastbridge benchmarks and norms are located in Fastbridge > Training & Resources > Benchmarks & Norms.

i-Ready Benchmarks for Iowa

Curriculum Associates has updated the i-Ready benchmarks for Iowa for the 22-23 school year.  Download the 22-23 Iowa i-Ready Benchmarks here. Due to the impact of the change on reports/risk levels for some students, an email was sent 12/8/22 to the MTSS contacts for districts who have i-Ready as a default assessment. The information below is based on that communication.

i-Ready benchmark updates for 22-23

Curriculum Associates informed us that they updated benchmarks for i-Ready for the 22-23 school year. Perviously, the benchmarks reflected only students at high risk.They added a “some risk” category which is also considered to be below the benchmark when screening for literacy risk in Iowa. This practice aligns with other screening assessments in use to meet ELI requirements. The result of this change is that a few more students will probably be identified as below benchmark using the new benchmarks. In other words, the old benchmarks were under-identifying students at risk when compared to the definitions used by other measures.

We became aware of the change after the fall screening window closed. This means that the literacy status has been calculated for students based on the old benchmarks, communicated with parents, and used to decide which students will receive interventions. We want to support the best possible decision making for identifying students at risk in reading or math and the updated benchmarks will improve those decisions. The updated benchmarks should be applied to the data in Student Success by mid-December. With the winter screening window just weeks away, we recommend making sure that those using the data are aware of the benchmark changes and make any necessary changes to plans for student needs after the winter screening data are available.

Here is an example of the change in benchmarks. The first table detail is from last year’s benchmarks. The second is from the new benchmarks. The old benchmark for Kindergarten in the fall was 295, and the updated benchmark is 313.

MAP Benchmarks for Iowa

Below are the 2021-22 benchmarks that will be used for MAP assessments in Iowa for the purpose of ELI and Healthy Indicator reports. These benchmarks are only available in this document, so please be aware the benchmark sets available elsewhere likely are not intended for Iowa use.

NWEA produced a set of cut scores to be used in universal screening for their math and reading assessments released in March, 2021. The updated benchmarks will be used in the Student Success system. However, the NWEA team that created the cut points included a caution that the risk predictions below 3rd grade are less accurate based on the data available to study (i.e., the farther below 3rd grade, the poorer the test’s predictive ability). The NWEA team reported “it is highly recommended for schools and educators to incorporate other factors in conjunction with student performance against the established benchmarks to identify students in need of intensive intervention…” Based on this, while the test is currently approved for this purpose for literacy screening, its use in K and 1 in particular is discouraged.

2021-22 Benchmarks

Looking for last year's MAP benchmarks? Click here to view the Past MAP Benchmarks

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