The Rigby PM Benchmark test is an assessment tool used by teachers of elementary school students in grades kindergarten through 5; it is designed to evaluate, monitor and report reading comprehension and progress in learning. Proper administration of the test should consider the environment, the student and the performance criteria relative to benchmark standards.

The Environment

As with any assessment testing, the student's immediate environment is important. As a report from Leadership for Student Success points out, "schools perceived as being positive, safe, and nurturing environments focused on student learning do better than schools that lack this climate, regardless of say available technology, teacher training and other more obvious factors." Accordingly, because the Rigby PM Benchmark test is given one-on-one, always ensure that the student has a comfortable place to read, is in an environment free of distractions and that the administrator of the test communicates understanding and support. The student always should feel encouraged and never intimidated.

The Student

With the Rigby PM Benchmark test, the child will not be pre-reading any of the material. The student should, however, be given the opportunity to become somewhat familiar with the book. This is accomplished by telling the child the title, main characters and any other introductory information included on the Rigby recording sheet used by the administrator. If the student's comfort level is increased by showing him the pictures, do so. When the child is sufficiently comfortable in the environment and with the basic elements of the book, proceed with the benchmark testing.

The Criteria

The Rigby PM Benchmark test provides for assessment on three levels; accuracy, comprehension, and fluency. As the child reads aloud, the administrator should make notes of general competency and any mistakes. These are noted on the assessment sheet included with the test package. Basic comprehension includes the ability to relate the main idea of the story, the primary characters, setting, major events and the ending. If the administrator is unclear on any of these points, there are follow-up questions included on the assessment sheet. Fluency is gauged on a second reading and scored accordingly. Fluency evaluation is not strictly required at the first testing and may be deferred to a subsequent session at the discretion of the administrator. Assessment criteria are used to determine the student's level of proficiency.

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