Michael Marcos




School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Jared T. Bigham


Academic Performance Index (API), Benchmark Exams, California Standards Test (CST), Common Assessments, Middle Schools, Standardized Tests


his quantitative non-experimental correlational research study intends to determine whether there was a correlation between the utilization of benchmark exams and state standardized test performance. Strictly focusing on schools that utilize benchmark exams, for how long they’ve utilized the exams, how frequently the exams are administered, how the exams are created, whether or not their administration is mandatory, and teacher satisfaction with the benchmark exams were considered as predictor variables. The Academic Performance Index (API) score change between the 2011 base API score and the 2012 growth API score was the criterion variable. The sample consisted of ninety-three California public middle schools. The sample was a balanced representation of academically low, mid, and high-performing schools as measured by the Academic Performance Index (API). The use of a multiple linear regression analysis quantified whether there is a correlation between how benchmark exams are utilized and Academic Performance Index (API) scores as measured by year-over-year value-added growth. The result of the study failed to indicate a significant positive linear relationship amongst the variables. As such, for future research, it is recommended to greatly expand the sample size by adding California public elementary and high schools. The goal would be to include enough participating schools that the percentage of schools not utilizing benchmark exams at each grade level would be comparable to those that do.