FastBridge uses both benchmark scores and norms (e.g., percentile ranks) to help teachers make sense of student data. Benchmark scores are indicators of each student’s level of risk for later learning difficulties. In order to understand benchmark scores, users need to consider how benchmark scores are set, what they measure, and how they are related to other assessments that students complete.
There are default benchmark scores for each FastBridge assessment. These defaults are based on the scores near the 15th and 40th percentile ranks in the FastBridge national norms. Scores below the 15th percentile are identified as high risk and marked with two exclamation marks (!!). Scores from the 16th through 40th percentiles are identified as some risk and marked with one exclamation mark (!). For selected assessments, there is also a benchmark indicating advanced performance.
For students in elementary and middle school, the Advanced indicator corresponds scores above the 70th percentile. For students in high school, the Advanced indicator corresponds scores above the 75th percentile. On those reports where the Advanced indicator is available, a white star in a lavender box star will display next to the score. School districts can choose to use different benchmark settings, if desired. In addition, the name for the Advanced indicator can be changed or turned off on reports.
The 15th, 40th, and Advanced percentile ranks were selected as the default benchmark levels for two reasons: (a) likely instructional needs, and (b) predictive validity
- Instructional Needs. The 15th, 40th, and 70/75th percentile ranks correspond to important levels in a normal distribution of scores. The 15th percentile rank includes those scores well below grade-level expectations. Students with very low scores are likely to need additional and intensive instruction to reach grade-level goals. Scores from the 16th through 40th percentiles are consistent with students who might meet the grade-level goals but might not. These students are likely to benefit from some amount of supplemental instruction to boost the likelihood of meeting grade-level goals. Those students with scores above the 70/75th percentile typically demonstrate superior skills and might benefit from accelerated or enriched instruction.
- Predictive Validity. The 15th and 40th percentile ranks have been validated in numerous research studies as highly predictive of student performance on other measures as well. The initial norms and benchmarks set for FastBridge assessments were developed by comparing scores with external measures of the same skill. For example, FastBridge reading measures were found to match student performance on the state reading assessments in Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Findings for math scores were similar. aMath scores were shown to be predictive of state test scores in Georgia and Minnesota, and earlyMath scores were predictive of state test scores in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Vermont.
FastBridge benchmarks are designed to indicate student risk and performance levels and provide teachers with an easy way to know which students might need additional instruction or intervention. All FastBridge scores should be compared with other information about student performance before instructional changes are made. For more information see the Use and Interpretation Guidelines document about interpreting norms and benchmarks.
FastBridge recommends that benchmark data should be used to evaluate Tier 1 core instruction and local norms should be used for individual student instructional decision making.