We often get asked if a paraprofessional or "assessment team" can administer the Benchmark Assessment. It is important that the classroom teacher be the administrator and we would like to take this opportunity to help explain the rationale behind this.
Benchmark Assessment System was designed for classroom teachers to systematically examine a student’s strengths and needs to gather data about reading behaviors and processing in order to develop instructional goals. Classroom teachers are trained to administer the assessments in a standardized way to reduce the frequency of errors in administration and obtain standardized results. It is most important for classroom teachers to administer the assessment rather than a testing team or paraprofessionals for the following reasons:
· BAS is an authentic assessment where the classroom teachers observe their students reading and writing about reading. It is not only a matter of getting scores or a level, it is the observation of students while reading and writing that provides the teacher with important information for planning instruction.
· The classroom teacher becomes knowledgeable about the strengths and weaknesses of each student and gets important information about fluency as she listens to each student read.
· As the classroom teacher has a conversation with the student about the book just read, she learns about the student’s ability to interact and discuss what is read. She gets to know each student in a one-to-one setting.
· Having time with each student to gather data about their reading and writing about reading is valuable as opposed to interpreting cold data gathered by another professional.
We hope this has cleared up any confusion you may have had.
The Fountas & Pinnell Team