STAMP Benchmark Scale

Test takers receive a score (Benchmark Level) for each section of the test. Benchmark Levels are grouped by major levels (Novice, Intermediate and Advanced). Within each major level are three sub-levels (low, mid, high) that are aligned to the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.

STAMP Benchmark Scale

Benchmark Levels

Developmentally, test takers at different ages have a different approach to both topics/content and contexts. Therefore, we have created our assessments with two developmental groupings in mind:

  • Grade 6 and below
  • Grade 7 through Adult

Scoring and rating for all STAMP assessments is done using benchmark levels. Test takers may achieve the following benchmark levels:

Grade 6 and Below

AssessmentSection Benchmark Levels
STAMPeReading, Listening sections: 1-6*
Writing, Speaking sections: 1-8
STAMP for Hebrew (Grade Band 2-6)Reading, Listening sections: 1-9
Writing, Speaking sections: 1-8
*STAMPe test takers can achieve 6+ (Pre-Advanced) benchmark level for Reading and Listening Sections.

Grade 7 through Adult

AssessmentSection Benchmark Levels
STAMP, STAMP Pro, STAMP Monolingual, STAMP MedicalReading, Listening sections: 1-9
Writing, Speaking sections: 1-8
STAMP WS Self-Evaluation sections: 1-7**
Writing, Speaking sections: 1-8
STAMP for ASLReceptive section: 1-9
Expressive section: 1-8
STAMP for LatinReading section: 1-9
STAMP for Hebrew (Grade Band 7+)Reading, Listening sections: 1-9
Writing, Speaking sections: 1-8
STAMP assessments with self-evaluation sectionsSelf-Evaluation sections: 1-7**
Writing, Speaking, or Expressive sections: 1-8
**Not included in composite score calculation.

 Please refer to the Reporting Guides for more information.

Writing, Speaking, Expressive Sections


The Writing, Speaking, and Expressive responses are rated by Avant Certified Raters using STAMP and STAMP for ASL Rubrics. Rubrics outline in detail what expectations are placed upon the test takers for performance at any given level. Test takers who hope to attain a specific level should know the characteristics of the work they must produce to meet the requirements of that proficiency level.

Rating Process

Rating is done using STAMP rubric and the following three-step rating process:

STEP 1 – Overall evaluation of the response to assess for ratability

Avant raters first determine if the response is on topic and appropriate for the given prompt. If the response is off-topic, contains any profanity, includes any menacing or threatening language, shows evidence of Test Agreement Violation, or if it has non-target language, the response will be treated as unresponsive and receive a Zero score. If the test taker experienced technical issues, including the use of a special keyboard or input system for character-based languages, they will receive an “NR” score for that response. Please refer to Avant’s Test Retake and Reset Policy for more information.

STEP 2 – Evaluation of each ratable response.

Avant raters evaluate each ratable response to determine a Benchmark Level based upon Text-Type characteristics (Novice-Low through Advanced-Mid), along with an indication of Language Control characteristics (accuracy/comprehensibility) with a possible score of High, Average, or Low.

STEP 3 – Posting scores for each response.

The system will then report ratings for each of the three responses, which are used to calculate the final score for the skill.

Note: 20% of all test taker responses are rated by a second rater to assist in tracking rater accuracy and reliability.

The same rubric is used for all Speaking and Writing responses. Individual responses are moved into the Avant Rating system once all three prompts have been submitted by the test taker.  The target turnaround time is based on the date of the last completed response.  There is an expected turnaround time of 7-10 days for most languages with a 10–12 day turnaround for less commonly tested languages.

Reading, Listening, Receptive Sections

Scoring Process

The Reading, Listening, and Receptive section scores are generated by the computer.
Each question has an associated benchmark level. Test takers experience questions at various levels because the reading, listening, and receptive sections are computer-adaptive. The algorithm used to determine the test taker’s scores for these sections looks at the number of questions that were answered correctly at each benchmark level.

Question Topics

The chart below shows topics typically associated with the Benchmark Levels for Reading, Listening, and Receptive questions. The chart also shows characteristics associated with the levels.

Benchmark LevelTopicsCharacteristics
Novice• Self
• Calendar/Time
• Colors/Shapes
• Pets/Animals
• School/Classroom
• Weather/Seasons
• Clothing
• Food/Beverage
• Family/Friends
• Home
• Places/Geography
• Community
• Daily Routines
• Shopping/Stores
• Leisure/Activities
Students who are reading or listening at Novice proficiency are characterized by:

• Reliance of learned phrases and basic vocabulary
• Ability to recognize the purpose of basic texts
• Can understand a core of simple, formulaic utterances
Intermediate• Health
• Holidays/Celebrations
• Occupations/Professions
• Transportation/Travel/Vacations
• Future Plans
• Culture
• Contemporary Issues
• Current Events
• Economics
• Literature
• Science
• Social Science
• History
• Plus more in-depth aspects of Novice topics
Students who are reading or listening at Intermediate proficiency are characterized by:

• In reading, ability to understand the main ideas and explicit detail in everyday language
• Ability to use language knowledge to understand information in everyday materials
• Can follow short conversations and announcements on common topics and answer questions about the main idea and explicitly stated details
Advanced• Art
• Politics
• Religion
• Math
• Plus more in-depth aspects of Novice and Intermediate topics
Students who are reading or listening at Advanced proficiency are characterized by:

• Can understand and use language for straightforward informational purposes.
• Can understand the content of most factual, non-specialized materials intended for a general audience
• Can understand the content of most spoken factual, non-specialized language

Please note that the topic is not the only criteria for determining the STAMP test question level. A Novice level test taker may know learned phrases and basic vocabulary about topics that may appear within Intermediate or Advanced levels.

Also, test questions may have elements of multiple topics. For example, a Novice level question about Calendar/Time might reference Holidays/Celebrations. The topics may be used as a guide for instruction but are not a complete scope and sequence.