Expected Benchmark growth in Imagine Language & Literacy


This article does not apply to students taking the Imagine Galileo ELA Benchmark or the NWEA™ MAP® Growth Assessment. It only applies to students taking the default embedded assessments in Imagine Language & Literacy (IL&L). If you aren't sure which assessment your school is using, read Checking which assessment option your organization is using.


Two common questions our customers ask are:

  • "What is considered 'good' growth on the Benchmark tests?"
  • "How are my students doing in comparison to other students across the country?"

To answer these questions, we'll look at 2 separate indicators. As you'll recall, the Imagine Language & Literacy embedded Benchmarks report a score for Literacy followed by a score for Oral Vocabulary. Ideally, students' scores increase in both of these areas with each Benchmark they take. 

Growth in Literacy

By conducting a review of more than 515,000 Imagine Language & Literacy (IL&L) users in Grades K-6 across the country, Imagine Learning discovered that IL&L students showed an average increase of 188 points in the Literacy portion of the Benchmark assessment between the beginning and the end of the 2021-2022 school year. However, the scores increased in direct proportion to the number of lessons students passed. For example, students who passed between 0 and 5 lessons showed an average growth of about 150 points, while students who passed 26 or more lessons displayed average gains of about 250 points. These results illustrate why we so strongly recommend that students use the program with fidelity. 

Learn more about the Literacy gains study by reading our research flyer

Growth in Oral Vocabulary

In the same study mentioned above, Imagine Learning researchers discovered a yearly average increase of 181 points in the Oral Vocabulary portion of the Benchmark for students in Grades K-6. Again, the more lessons the students passed, the more their average scores improved.

Next Step:

To learn how to view your students' changes in Benchmark scores throughout the year, read Reviewing student results from the Benchmark tests in Imagine Language & Literacy. Compare the results with the number of lessons each student has passed.


Results may vary by grade level and by student population. For example, schools with a high percentage of emergent multilingual learners may observe different gains than schools with other sociodemographic characteristics. Students who were 2 or more grade levels below at the beginning of the year demonstrated larger gains than students working on or above grade-level content.