MDE Provides Guidance on Benchmark Assessments

As discussed in our August 19, 2020 E-Blast, Public Act 149 of 2020 (PA 149) requires schools to administer at least two “bench­mark assessments” to students in grades K-8 during the 2020-21 school year. On August 21, 2020, MDE released a memo providing additional guidance on these assessments.

Under PA 149, a benchmark assessment is any of the following:

  • A benchmark assessment from an MDE-approved provider.
  • A benchmark assessment that “contains progress monitor­ing tools and enhanced diagnostic assessments” for reading and “contains progress monitoring tools” for math.
  • “A local benchmark assessment,” which is not specifically defined.

MDE’s memo identifies NWEA, Curriculum Associates, Renaissance Learning, and Data Recognition Center as approved benchmark assessment providers. MDE will provide schools access to the “Smarter Balanced” benchmark assessments from Data Recognition Center at no cost. MDE noted that DIBELs/Acadience and AIMSWEB meet the “benchmark assessment” requirement be­cause they contain “progress monitoring tools and enhanced diagnostic assessments” and “progress monitoring tools” for math.

Finally, MDE announced that it will provide training and Q&A sessions to schools about how to implement the new PA 149 re­quirements. According to MDE, dates and times for those trainings and Q&A sessions will be announced “shortly.”