Find students' instructional levels by assessing their reading skills with developmentally appropriate texts while recording reading behavior. Benchmark Passages are short text selections that are one part of a three-part process to help place students at their instructional levels for leveled reading sessions and to assess their readiness to progress to the next level.
Benchmark Passages assess comprehension and reward students' progress from level to level. They are one part of a three-part process that provides a more complete assessment of reading behavior and comprehension than any of the parts independently.
Each level has 2 fiction and 2 nonfiction passages.
Each level has at least 1 fiction-nonfiction passage pair on the same topic.
Each passage uses a level-appropriate percentage of words from leveled books at that reading level.
aa-E = 100%
F-J = 95% + 5% new words
K-Z = 90% + 10% new words
The text of the entire passage is used in the Running Record.
Most are one page long, but upper level passages can be two pages.
Give a student a Benchmark Passage he or she has never seen before to read aloud. If you prefer to use familiar text, use the fiction-nonfiction topic pair at each level. Use one passage from the pair to support a student's understanding of the topic before assessing with the other passage.
Record the student's reading behavior using the passage's Running Record form.
If a student scores 90 percent, assess the student's comprehension using a Quick Check from Level A-Z and Retelling Rubrics.
If a student scores from 90%-94% percent on the running record and answers comprehension questions at 80%-100%, he or she is at an instructional level. (For more details, see About Running Records).