District Benchmark Assessments (DBA)
Information for parents about District Benchmark Assessments (DBA) and how they're used in the classroom to measure your student's progress.
Your child may have told you recently that he or she took the DBA at school. And you may be wondering, what is a DBA? Who takes it? How often? And, most importantly, why?
The tests are created by a team of APS teachers and administrators based on state standards, the same standards that students will be tested on in the spring when they take the New Mexico Standards Based Assessments (SBA).
District Benchmark Assessments are designed as classroom tools for teachers to evaluate academic progress throughout the year.
Standards Based Assessments are state-mandated tests given to students throughout New Mexico (NMPED's SBA page) in 3-8th and 11th grades each year to assess whether they meet grade-specific state standards. Standards Based Assessments are used to rate schools (more about school ratings).
All APS students in 1-11th grade take the DBA. The DBA is unique to Albuquerque Public Schools, though all school districts are required to give some sort of benchmark test (often known as a "short-cycle assessment") to measure how students are doing throughout the school year.
- Grades 1-5:
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding theEach assessment contains content standards that reflect the content that has been taught in the classroom up to that point in time.
- Grades 6-8:
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding theMath and Reading
- Grades 9-11:
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding theAlgebra I & II, Geometry, and Reading
The test scores are designed as a classroom tool for teachers to:
- Measure student progress
- Individualize instruction to meet student needs
- Use for AIPs (Academic Improvement Plans)
Student improvement is measured by how the student performs on each of the three district benchmark assessments. Each assessment contains questions that reflect what is being taught in class. The second and third tests also present students with more challenging questions for material taught at the beginning of the year, encouraging them to apply their knowledge in new ways.
Schools expect proficiency scores at the beginning of the school year to be low, since many concepts haven't yet been taught. They expect to see some improvement in the second test, and significant improvement on the spring exam.
Contact your child's school to get copies of DBA scores.
Most schools give out the tests using paper and pencil. Test scores are scanned by the student's teacher. Some schools are starting to use online reading assessments. Check with your school to find out more about how the tests are given.
Right now, only the math assessments have been translated into Spanish. The district plans on providing Spanish reading assessments in the future.
No. Test scores are used to measure a student's understanding of material being taught in the classroom throughout the year. A student's test scores are not compared to other students. Teachers use the results to identify concepts students are having difficulty grasping in order to give them more individualized attention and feedback.