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College Benchmarks – What You Need To Know

Are you on track academically for college? How can you be sure? Benchmarks are a set of indicators that determine whether or not you are on track to be successful in college. Benchmarks can come from a variety of sources, teachers or schools may develop their own benchmarks they look for in students. Curriculums used in schools may outline specific benchmarks. One of the most universal set of college readiness benchmarks are SAT scores.

Why the SAT?

The SAT is useful because so many students take it. A large sample size has been used to determine what scores indicate college preparedness. It is also useful because it is unbiased and simply uses a score to determine whether or not a student is on track. This is why so many institutions place so much weight on SAT scores for admittance. 

Understanding Your Score

Here is how the SAT benchmarks work and how to know whether or not you are on track. When you receive you scores from the SAT they are color coded. A green score means you are above the benchmark. A yellow score means that you could improve to the benchmark level within an academic year. A red score means you are beyond an academic year from approaching the benchmark score. 

What Benchmarks Indicate

According to the CollegeBoard, a benchmark score means you have a 75% chance or higher of earning at least a C in credited entry level coursework. This means you have the background knowledge and problem solving skills to perform in college level classes. 

Benchmarks as Tools

If you have not reached the benchmarks, don’t despair. The benchmarks are not designed to indicate that you cannot succeed in college. They are designed to show you the subject areas where you will need to work a little harder to be at an entry college level. Focus your studies in these areas. You may consider a tutor or elective classes in that subject area to help you develop the skills you need to be successful.

Remember benchmarks are a helpful tool and indicator, they do not determine your future. Use benchmarks to guide you so that you can be ready for higher education and successful in college. 


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