Offline Benchmark Tracker
Use this benchmark tracker PDF to track offline benchmark story reading.
Benchmark stories help teachers measure student progress and reading skills, and inform them when an intervention may be needed for a student who is struggling. Benchmark stories are automatically given to students after key episodes, and information is shared with teachers in their Kids A-Z management hub to help them make instructional decisions.
Why Use Benchmarks
Benchmark stories are placed after every ten episodes to evaluate and record how students are doing as they progress through the program. While the episodes have built-in formative assessment throughout the entire sequence, benchmark stories allow teachers to monitor growth in students' reading fluency or intervene if a student is struggling.
Benchmark stories are a critical part of the program that give teachers a window into students' oral reading skills. They allow teachers to listen to students reading targeted passages and include an online quiz to gauge students' comprehension of the stories, so teachers can be assured that students are reading with understanding.
How to Use Benchmarks
Students read a benchmark story when they finish episodes 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, and 100. Students record themselves reading the benchmark story, and the recordings will go to the teacher's Kids A-Z In Basket.
To score the reading of the benchmark stories, rate the student's reading fluency as "independent", "satisfactory", or "needs practice" based on how accurate and fluent the reading was.
If a student receives a rating of "needs practice" in his or her reading fluency in a benchmark story, Headsprout's fluency building materials will help that student improve his or her reading fluency through practice with the program's sounds, words, and connected text.
Each benchmark story also has an online quiz that students take after reading the story. These quizzes are scored automatically.
You can see student performance across all the benchmark stories read by accessing your Kids A-Z Assessments Reports.
Do Benchmarks Without Microphones
During benchmark stories, students will generally use a microphone to record themselves reading the story and retelling it. But benchmark stories happen every 10 episodes, so students don't need a microphone all the time. If your students' computer stations don't have microphones, there are some alternatives that may help:
- Have one microphone available to plug and unplug from students' computers when each student needs to record a benchmark story.
- Set up a microphone in one computer and make that computer the testing station. When students need to record a benchmark story, they go to the testing station.
- If microphones are not an option, print out the benchmark Sprout stories (the stories in episodes 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, and 100). When a student needs to record a benchmark story, have the student read the story aloud for you and give the reading one of the following three ratings:
- Independent: firm reading, few or no errors
- Satisfactory: small hesitations, some errors
- Needs Practice: many errors
Then, go to your Kids A-Z In Basket and click on the Enter Paper Running Records button. This will take you to a list of students. From the drop-down menus next to the students' names, choose the benchmark story that they completed, and your rating for it.