What are the Science Benchmarks?

The Science Benchmark Assessments by Amplify* are designed to help teachers measure student progress toward the three dimensions (Disciplinary Core Ideas, Scientific and Engineering Practices, and Cross-cutting Concepts) and performance expectations of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). They provide important insight into how students are progressing toward mastery of different standards ahead of high-stakes, end-of-year assessments.

The assessments are given 3–4 times per year, depending on the grade level. They are intended to show progress at various points in time across a school year, and are not summative in nature. For more information on grade-specific assessments, including sample assessment items, please visit this site.

Accessing the Benchmark Assessments

The Benchmark Assessments are accessible via your Global Navigation menu.

Upon opening the Benchmarks app, you’ll see a page with information about the Benchmarks and the various formats in which they are available. If you are interested in using the Benchmarks in PDF or downloading the QTI files to use in your local assessment platform, you can access those right from this page.

If your district uses SchoolCity, Otus, or Illuminate and you’d like to administer the Benchmark through them, please send a note to help@amplify.com.

Not seeing the Benchmarks icon in your menu? This is likely because of the state in which you are using the program. If you’d like the Benchmarks added to your account, please email help@amplify.com.

Partnering with Amplify

If you are using or plan on using the Benchmark Assessments, we’d love to partner with you! If you’re interested in helping us validate the items within the Benchmarks so their predictive power can be improved, please reach out to Rachel Fisher, Senior Learning Scientist, at rfisher@amplify.com.


Common questions

Are the Benchmarks aligned with Amplify Science unit content?

While Amplify has a recommended placement for benchmarks to be used after particular units in Amplify Science based on general standards coverage in those units, the content of the Benchmarks is tied to the NGSS dimensions and performance expectations.

Can the Benchmarks replace the Amplify Science curriculum assessments (pre-unit, critical juncture, post-unit)?

Students’ understanding of the content specific to the Amplify Science units (i.e. the phenomena investigated in the unit) should be directly assessed using the embedded curricular assessments. We do NOT recommend replacing the curricular assessments with the Benchmark assessments.

Should the Benchmarks be graded?

Benchmark Assessments provide insight into how students are progressing toward mastery of the NGSS standards ahead of high-stakes, end-of-year assessments. Since the benchmarks are not a replacement for graded tests or other curricular work, we do not recommend grading benchmarks.

How are the Benchmarks administered?

If your school or school district has purchased the Benchmarks, they will be linked in your Global Navigation menu.

Benchmarks are available via the following platforms:

  • Print

    • PDF files: For administering Benchmark Assessments on paper

  • Digital

    • QTI (“Question and Test Interoperability”) files: Standard import format for many assessment platforms

    • Illuminate

    • SchoolCity

    • Otus

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