Literacy Assessments

Benchmark Assessments

Benchmark assessments are conducted as check-ins on students’ reading development. They occur two times annually in Kindergarten and three times annually for students in Grades 1 - 6. These check-ins are a critical first step in identifying students who are at risk for experiencing reading difficulties and who may need additional support. Between these check-ins, we monitor students’ progress with in-class observations, practice, and assessment. These tools are designed to help educators provide timely feedback and personalize instruction as needed.

Effective July 1, 2023, Massachusetts schools and districts are required to take the following actions regarding literacy screening:

  • Assess each student's reading ability from Kindergarten through at least Grade 3 at least twice per school year

  • Use a valid, developmentally appropriate, DESE-approved early literacy screening instrument

These requirements are met in part by our continued practice of administering aReading, an assessment of FastBridge. To ensure our practice properly screens for dyslexia, we also added a battery of short measures also in FastBridge that align with the Massachusetts Dyslexia Guidelines for Kindergarten - Grade 3.

Common Assessments

In grades 7-12, ELA teachers collaborate to develop and score grade-level literacy-focused common assessments. We administer the assessments in the English classes in the fall, winter, and spring to determine student achievement and progress toward identified standards-based goals. Teachers use the assessment results to adjust practice and identify appropriate interventions, so all students reach grade-level expectations.