What Are Benchmarks?
A benchmark is a standard point of reference for comparing or assessing things. In literacy evaluations, benchmarks are a way to measure adults’ reading skills. Rather than using the K to 12 grades, which are often inaccurate descriptions for adult reading, benchmarks offer a more complete description of adults’ reading skills. The Alberta Reading Benchmarks (ARB) project has created seven levels of reading benchmarks for adult literacy, upgrading, and essential-skills programs to use. The more adult reading programs in Alberta that use the ARB, the easier it will be for learners to move from one program to another.
What is the purpose of the Alberta Reading Benchmarks?
As a standard point of reference for reading the key purposes of the ARB are to:
- Assist in understanding their own learning and skills
- Provide a shared language to discuss learning and skills
- Provide a common measure of reading so learners’ skills can be recognized by others
- Ease the transition into and among literacy programs, and between program levels
- Enhance teaching practices and the use of resources
- Inform instruction and the development of learning plans, courses and curriculum
- Provide a common form of measurement to assess learning
- Support and enhance best practices in instruction
- Provide information for policy development
- Provide information and ways of reporting about literacy activity and needs