Understanding the Imagine Language & Literacy Benchmark Test

Before students take the Benchmark Test, Administrators and Teachers should understand what the Benchmark Test measures, and how the test is structured. 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, 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. Benchmark Tests are enabled by default and can only be disabled by a district or school administrator.  

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) can 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. Once a student begins a Benchmark Test they will have 28 days to complete it, even if they begin the test on the last day of the test window.


For consistency in classroom and group reporting, students who took a Placement Test or End of Year benchmark test in May or June using Imagine Learning's Embedded Assessments are eligible for a Beginning of Year benchmark test starting August 1. This can lead to a shortened period between tests for some students beginning Imagine Language & Literacy during the summer months but ensures that most students in a classroom begin the year with a benchmark score. Students who take the Beginning of Year Benchmark Test before their school is reset for the new school year should not be assessed again so long as their student account is reactivated with the same username and/or student ID.

Students who receive a Placement Test in July will not be eligible to take the Beginning of Year Benchmark Test until 93 days after receiving the July test.  If a student completes a Placement Test after July 29th they would not be eligible for another Benchmark Test until the start of the second testing window on December 1st.

What the Benchmark Test measures

The Benchmark Test is a series of assessments administered throughout the school year that show evidence of student growth over time. Administrators and Teachers 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. Benchmark tests must be enabled by a district or school administrator.

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.