This article reports on the results of focus groups with 67 elementary and middle school teachers from several school districts surrounding an urban metropolitan area in Virginia. The study found that teachers’ use of benchmark assessment results was influenced by perceived quality of test items, timeliness in receiving results, accessibility of the data, and opportunities to review and discuss the results. Study teachers reported using benchmark test results to formatively adjust instruction in a variety of ways, including modifying whole class instruction, working with students in small groups, and providing individualized support.
Study findings indicate conditions that are important in supporting the meaningful formative use of benchmark testing. These include “valid and transparent test items, support, immediacy of results, and time to discuss with others.”