Understanding the Benchmark Test

Before students take the Benchmark Test, Administrators and Educators should understand what the Benchmark Test measures, how the test is structured, and when the test should be administered. Watch this short video for a quick overview of what the Imagine Language & Literacy embedded Benchmark Test is, how it works, and how to interpret and act on student scores. Once you understand how the Benchmark Test works, how students experience the Benchmark Test, and what the requirements for test window spacing are, you're ready to administer the Benchmark Test. During testing, you can check your students' test status. After testing, you can review student test results.


The Beginning-of-Year Benchmark Test is automatically assigned and cannot be disabled. But if you are a District Administrator or School Administrator, you can enable or disable the Middle and End-of-Year Benchmark Tests.

When the Benchmark Test is administered

The Benchmark Test can be administered during 3 different testing windows scheduled throughout the school year. 

Test Window Assessment Test Window Dates
Test Window 1

Beginning-of-Year Benchmark Test

August 1-October 31
Test Window 2

Middle-of-Year Benchmark Test

December 1-February 28
Test Window 3

End-of-Year Benchmark Test

April 1-June 30

New students (or students who are using Imagine Language & Literacy for the first time) will receive the Placement Test when they first log in, regardless of the test window they start it in. They will not receive a Benchmark Test during the same testing window when they took the Placement Test. The Placement Test is automatically assigned and cannot be disabled.    

Returning students (or students who have used Imagine Language & Literacy for at least 1 year) will receive the Beginning-of-Year Benchmark Test during Test Window 1 and the subsequent Middle and End-of-Year Benchmark Tests during Test Windows 2 and 3.

What the Benchmark Test measures

The embedded Benchmark Test is a series of assessments administered throughout the school year that show evidence of student growth over time. Administrators and Educators can compare the latest student Benchmark Test results with previous Benchmark Test results or Placement Test results. Imagine Language & Literacy also uses Benchmark Test results to refine where your students are placed in Imagine Language & Literacy.

How the Benchmark Test is structured

Each Benchmark Test includes 11 sub-tests across 5 skill areas: Print Concepts, Phonological Awareness, Phonics and Word Recognition, Reading Comprehension, and Oral Vocabulary. The Beginning, Middle, and End-of-Year Benchmark Tests include 11 subtests that are similar to 11 of the 13 subtests in the Placement Test in terms of design, content, depth of knowledge, item types, number of items, and statistical characteristics. Imagine Language & Literacy reports results for 8 of the 11 subtests. The remaining 3 subtests are only used to place and sequence students appropriately. 

The number of sub-tests that a student receives on the Benchmark Test depends on their Placement Test score or previous Benchmark Test scores. If a student did not demonstrate proficiency on a specific sub-test during the Placement Test, they will encounter the sub-test for those skills when they take the Benchmark Test. Throughout the Benchmark Test, how a student performs on each sub-test (either newly encountered or previously encountered) determines which subsequent sub-tests they will receive. Students receive different sub-tests until Imagine Language & Literacy has enough assessment data to determine a student’s current skill level.