The PALS benchmarks seem really low. Why?

PALS benchmarks are constructed for the screening (interim) purpose of PALS – to identify students who are at-risk for having difficulty learning to read, or who have a significant reading deficiency. The benchmarks are sufficiently low to prevent over-identification of students. The benchmarks are not randomly selected numbers; rather, they were derived from many years of data collection and a research-based profile of students who tend to struggle with reading development in the absence of intervention.