5 Reasons Educational Benchmarking Drives Better Outcomes

Educational benchmarking is a practice that measures student performance against a set of defined standards. By combining benchmarking with standardised testing, schools and communities can identify the strengths and weaknesses of both individual students and cohorts, and adjust their teaching strategies, resources and policies to effectively improve learning outcomes. To help readers understand how standardised benchmarking tests can be used effectively, here are 5 reasons for why educational benchmarking drives better outcomes:

Benchmarking allows for more effective performance comparisons between individuals, schools and broader communities

In an increasingly globalised world, students will be competing for jobs not just against their peers in their country but also with the skilled workers from all over the world. This is why it is important to look at student performance at multiple levels. Standardised tests can be used to look at student performance from the individual to the global level, allowing policymakers to really understand how competitive their systems are and how they might improve outcomes by onboarding strategies from other schools in the community. 

Benchmarking breaks performance data silos to help schools better identify strengths and weaknesses in their teaching strategies

When a school only has internal tests to make decisions, it can be difficult to know how well their students are doing between subjects. Students might be receiving fantastic scores for English internally but when compared to other schools their scores might not be as competitive. Standardised benchmarking tests break these data silos and allow educators to benchmark student performance not just between individuals, schools and entire states but also between subjects and skillsets. This enables them to identify strengths and weaknesses in their methods and make changes accordingly. 

Benchmarking allows students and schools to effectively identify their progress through generalised performance indicators

Curriculum based assessments are great for measuring student understanding of the teaching material in the short term, however, they can be rather rigid, with performance indicators tied tightly to exactly what has been taught. Standardised benchmark tests on the other hand can use more general performance indicators to measure longer term progress, looking at a broader set of metrics to understand how students have progressed throughout their whole school career. 

Benchmarking allows for data based decision making

Our teachers are our greatest resource and the backbone of all educational institutions. However, each teacher individually can only make effective judgements based on what they see in their own students and what internal tests tell them is happening in their classrooms. Standardised benchmarking tests allow teachers to broaden their scope and receive accurate data and analysis across a much wider range of schools and learning environments. This analysis can help them reflect upon their own teaching methods and make adjustments based on data, alongside their existing results and experience. 

Benchmarking allows for strategic deployment of educational policies and more effective allocation of resources

Schools are very much limited by their budgets and each faculty has their own reasons for wanting a bigger slice of the pie. However, without knowing how students are performing it is difficult to make changes to policies and resources allocations. It is also very difficult to make these kinds of decisions based on internal testing since there is nothing to compare the performance to. Standardised benchmarking tests allow schools to compare the performance of their students to other schools and see where changes can be most effectively targeted to make the greatest impact on student learning. 

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