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Scientifically Based Research

2016 Research Study Report--VA:

Evidence Based Research in 8 elementary schools in Fairfax County (VA) Public Schools on the effectiveness of the Benchmark Literacy comprehensive literacy program

Click here for more info in the research study's Executive Summary.

2016 Research Study Report--MN:

Evidence Based Research in 6 Minnesota public school districts on the effectiveness of the Benchmark Literacy comprehensive literacy program

Click here for more info in the research study's Executive Summary.

In a 2015 K–6 Spanish literacy research study, independent researchers from Main Street Academix reported:

  • “Analysis of the [Spanish] Oral Reading Records assessments showed that students made impressive gains in Spanish literacy achievement from Fall 2013 to Spring 2014 after implementing the Benchmark Spanish Literacy Program.”
  • “The analysis of the DRA assessments show that students in Grades K–6 Spanish instruction made impressive gains in [English] literacy achievement.”
  • “The [state English assessment] results for Spanish students show that these students outperformed both the overall school score for each grade as well as the state average for each grade.”

Click Here for more info in the Spanish research study's Executive Summary.

Classroom-Proven Research Results!

In a 2013 research study in Fairfax County (VA) Public Schools, independent university-based researchers from Main Street Academix reported:

  • "Grades 1–2 students using Benchmark Education’s program showed DRA level gains of 13.0 vs. 10.6 the prior year using other literacy programs, gains termed “rare” and “admirable in the world of educational interventions."
  • "Students performed considerably better than the VA state average on the SOL E/LA Assessment after the Benchmark Education program had been implemented in the school. Students performed slightly below or similar to the state average [the two previous years.]"
  • "The most impressive finding was that the typically educationally disadvantaged students in grades 3–6 exhibited greater gains in DRA levels…compared with the educationally advantaged group." [In other words, disadvantaged students started to catch up with their classmates.]


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DRA reading growth accelerated 28% from 10.6 the previous year to 13.0 DRA levels in Grades 1–2 using Benchmark Education program with long-term professional development.


The year prior to the study, only 2% more grades 3-6 ELLs and Title I students scored Proficient or better compared to VA State averages. After using Benchmark Education’s program, dramatic improvements resulted with 16% more ELLs and 10% more Title I students scoring Proficient compared to State averages.

Click Here (3 MB) for more info in the research study's Executive Summary

Click Here (30 KB) for the research study’s Press Release


Benchmark Education Programs Used in the Study (with long-term, on-site training):

  • Anchor Comprehension Workshop posters
  • Content Connections and Shared Reading Classics Big Books
  • My First Reader's Theater and Nursery Rhymes & Songs Lap Books and Big Books
  • Reader's Theater nonfiction and fiction multi-leveled scripts
  • Genre and Fluency posters
  • Benchmark Literacy precisely leveled books (with Text-Dependent Comprehension Question Cards for each title) including:
    • Early Explorers leveled books
    • Early Connections leveled books
    • Readers’ and Writers’ Genre Workshop leveled books
    • Navigators leveled books
    • Bridges leveled books
    • PRIME Science and Social Studies leveled books
  • Benchmark Literacy Phonics kits: StartUp, BuildUp, SpiralUp
  • Word Study & Vocabulary kits: Start, Build, Spiral, Extend
  • Benchmark Writer’s Workshop
  • Benchmark Universe Talking e-Book, Interactive Whiteboard, and Comprehension Strategy Assessment online resources
  • Professional Development (Customized) - Initial product training followed by monthly on-site coaching in whole-group and small-group differentiated instruction and close reading.


Scientifically Based Research


The U.S. Department of Education states that all schools should be using instructional programs that have been proven effective in the classroom by scientific research.

To that end, Benchmark Education participated in a rigorous scientifically based research study during the 2011-13 school years designed to determine the effects of introducing its Benchmark Literacy program with On-Site Professional Development in Grades K-6 classrooms.

The study was conducted in the Fairfax County (VA) Public Schools by Main Street Academix, an independent, university-based research company. Main Street Academix designed the study, helped match the experimental and control schools, oversaw administration of pretests and posttests, made Fidelity of Implementation visits/interviews, and compiled the results.

Results showed substantial gains in the % of students "At/Above Proficient" on the VA State Reading Test, as well as dramatically increased DRA reading-level growth for students using Benchmark Education materials compared to control students using other literacy programs.

BEC has published a National Literacy Research Summary which details additional recent scientific research results, including evaluations by product line. You will also find extensive and specific research citations in the Bibliography and throughout the Summary. See pdf links below.


  • I. Introduction (186 KB)
  • II. Benchmark Education Literacy Research Study - East Hartford (CT) PS (612 KB)
  • III. Benchmark Education Literacy Research Study - Tyler (TX) ISD (532 KB)
  • IV. K-6 BookRoom Collections and Bridges/Navigators Text Pairs with Comprehension Strategy Posters (451 KB)
  • V. Reader's Theater (1.5 MB)
  • VI. Phonics Skill Bags/Phonetic Connections (315 KB)
  • VII. Word Study & Vocabulary Skill Bags (99 KB)
  • VIII. Content Connections Big Books: Science, Social Studies, Math (91 KB)
  • IX. Shared Reading Classics (88 KB)
  • X. Readers' & Writers' Genre Workshop (162 KB)
  • XI. PRIME Science and Social Studies (95 KB)
  • XII. Early Explorers (221 KB)
  • XIII. English Explorers and Math Explorers (362 KB)
  • XIV. VCL - Vocabulary (349 KB)
  • XV. RIGOR (325 KB)
  • XVI. Fluency Kits (74 KB)
  • XVII. Reading Explorers (525 KB)
  • XVIII. Comprehension Skill Bags (77 KB)
  • XIX. Bibliography (124 KB)