The idea of Subject Benchmarking (SB) in education is not new. The term benchmark was first used in UK higher education by R.K. Milton: "standards represent benchmarks with which students compare their ability and performance"
Subject Benchmarking is a policy device aimed at improving the capacity of subject communities to regulate their academic standards. It achieves this by creating subject based information that can be used by teaching teams as a prompt for self-critical reflection and further development. Subject Benchmark Statements (SBSs) provide a set of reference points to show how the key features of a programme, its intended learning outcomes and the standards that derive from these intended outcomes, relate to what is deemed appropriate by the subject community.
Subject Benchmark Statements (SBSs) provide
The institutions and academic staff with a framework for articulating the intended learning outcomes of programmes;
The institutions with a minimum standard for the award of a degree in a particular subject area;
Peer reviewers with a reference point for making judgments about the appropriateness of programme outcomes and their achievement;
Students, employers, professional bodies and others with the information about the range of provision in particular subject/discipline areas, the qualities developed in graduates, and the standards that would of graduates;
The public at large with the information about the nature of higher education awards