Support videos & FAQs for Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System

Webinar – BAS 3rd Edition Comprehension Conversation

Let's Get Practical

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

The comprehensive assessment procedures and the variety of tools and options provided in Benchmark Assessment Systems 1 and 2 are rich resources for helping you systematically examine a child's strengths and needs, helping you think about the important link between assessment and instruction.

You will find detailed information about analysing the reading behaviours of a child on an instructional-level text and tools for linking those behaviours to specific instructional goals in the Assessment Guide. 

The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum: Expanded Edition (Fountas and Pinnell, Heinemann 2017), included in every Benchmark Assessment System, is the foundation for instruction. You can make a direct link from the data gathered with the assessment to the Literacy Continuum’sTM; specific behaviours to notice, teach, and support in every instructional context related to literacy.

The Professional Development videos are another rich resource. They are designed to help you conduct efficient and effective assessments, learn how to interpret the results, and connect results to instruction. Over time, observations made through the assessment, instruction designed to move the child ahead from level to level, and follow-up assessment will deepen your understanding of literacy development.

No. Changes have been made to both the benchmark books and the recording forms. Using BAS 2nd edition books with BAS 3rd edition recording forms will not work because the text of the book and the text on the form will not always match, which will affect your ability to score a reader’s accuracy.

We understand the critical importance of maintaining consistency in assessment protocols within schools and across districts. Due to modifications in the scoring rubrics, it is important for all classrooms and/or teachers to be using the same edition. Co-mingling of 2nd and 3rd Edition of BAS within the same school is not recommended for the following reasons:

Scoring has been refined. Increased rigor in administration and analysis will result in more consistent scoring and determination of students’ instructional and independent levels.

As a result, assessing students with BAS 2rd Edition may result in a slightly higher score than peers assessed in BAS 3rd Edition. It is important to maintain consistency in assessment protocols within schools/districts and continue to assess with BAS 2rd Edition or convert to BAS 3rd Edition.

While the more rigorous comprehension scoring will be reflected in the ODMS for BAS 3rd Edition, all student assessment data from all editions will continue to exist within the ODMS.

New Comprehension Conversation Scoring Rubrics. The new rubrics enable more rigorous and consistent administration, analysis, and scoring. 

Revised Comprehension Conversation scoring. We have found that teachers need more guidance on how to conduct the Comprehension Conversation portion of the reading record. To provide this help, we have more clearly defined this process through the creation of a new rubric and have updated the scoring criteria. As a result, there will be more consistency and accuracy in scoring this portion of the assessment. Elimination of the extra point will bring greater consistency of scoring among teachers.

Updates to the Assessment Guides, Recording Forms, Online Data Management System, and the Benchmark Assessment System Reading Record Apps.

Enhanced digital delivery and elimination of physical CDs and DVDs. All Recording Forms, Summary Forms, optional assessments, and all NEW Professional Development Videos and Tutorial Videos are now available on Online Resources. In an effort to meet the changing technology landscape, we are eliminating the inclusion of any CDs or DVDs in the system. A unique product code, available on the inside front cover of each 3rd Edition Assessment Guide, will "unlock" the content in Online Resources.

All new student and teacher video examples on the Professional Development Videos. Video examples are updated with all new content, including the new prompts and scoring for the comprehension conversation.

Benchmark Assessment books revised for factual information in nonfiction and other minor changes in fiction and nonfiction.

Unlike many traditional and computerised assessments, which are taken in isolation, Benchmark Assessment conferences give you a chance to spend quality time with each student. You will get to know your students and begin to develop relationships while you gather critical information. Students have the opportunity to read several books, think about them, and talk one-on-one with an adult about each text—and that is not time wasted. Students may do some writing about reading (an option), and that, too, not only provides valuable assessment information and is time well spent. Benchmark Assessment mirrors worthwhile literacy activities that are included in your instruction every day.

We suggest that you administer the assessment at the beginning of the year to help you determine where to start your teaching with each child. You may also want to conduct the assessment in the middle of the year, to take stock of progress, though you may already have the information from your ongoing use of reading records in instruction. Finally, near the end of the year you may want to conduct one more assessment to obtain a final record of the child's growth across the year. You may decide to administer the last assessment a couple of months before the end of the year. In this case, the assessment can provide information for instruction during the last months of school, while avoiding the redundancy of testing at the very end of one year and the beginning of the next.

Have regular faculty meetings to examine the data within and across grade levels. Look at the general reading levels of the age cohort, but don't stop there. Use the case studies in Section 5 of the Assessment Guide to help you think about priorities for teaching students. Think across the language and literacy framework. You can teach comprehension through interactive read-aloud, minilessons, guided reading, and literature discussion. The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum, Expanded Edition (included in your Benchmark Assessment System, 3rd Edition purchase) can also be used to identify teaching goals.