A benchmark is a point of reference which can be used in order to compare something (usually the meeting of a requirement) to. In regards to education, benchmarks are used to insure that students are meeting or exceeding the educational goals established by the school, state, or government. For example, the benchmark of alphabet recognition is five years of age.
As for Multicultural Benchmarks, these are established in order to insure a school is making the steps towards insuring that the classroom (or school as a whole) is truly offering a multicultural education. According to Integrating New Technologies Into the Methods of Education website, J.A. Banks has created eight benchmarks which illustrates the steps necessary to achieve a true multicultural school. Each benchmark acts as a step which must be met prior to the school or teacher progressing to the next one. (The eight steps have been linked below for you.)
Following the multicultural benchmarks insure that the overall goal, regarding multicultural education, can be met. Benchmarks allow the greater goal to be broken down into smaller pieces. By finding success in the smaller pieces, the greater goal becomes more manageable.