In Pick&Mix, a criterion is rising if in the next iteration of benchmarking its score is likely to be higher. Hence one might talk of a "rising 4".
Note that benchmarking should not be viewed as a process which takes place once and once only. Rather, there should be re-benchmarking from time to time, not necessarily annually, but at regular intervals - for example, timed to coincide with the start of the review process for a learning and teaching strategy. Thus each criterion or indicator score has a path through time. Indeed, several of the constituent indicators of a criterion are likely to be scored annually as part of other processes such as IT planning or student support.
For more see trajectory.
Sometimes (e.g. on bad phone lines) it is clearer to use the phrase "and rising" after the criterion score - e.g. to say "5 and rising" rather than "rising 5". This also avoids confusion with some other usages of "rising" which mean "rising towards" rather than "rising and at".