What you need to do now for the new state assessment
I mentioned in my welcome back message to kick off the 2018-19 school year, new years bring new opportunities. This is especially true for education in Iowa in the year ahead.
One of the most anticipated opportunities is the development and implementation of a new statewide assessment, the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP). This new suite of summative assessments in reading, language and writing, and math in grades 3-11 and in science in grades 5, 8, and 10 are created by Iowa Testing Programs (ITP) at the University of Iowa and will be delivered and supported by Pearson. The Iowa Department of Education will be a collaborative partner by helping to identify and address the needs of education stakeholders as Iowa implements this new assessment.
As we gear up for the launch of the ISASP in March, there are a few things schools can do now to prepare:
Complete the Tech Readiness Survey: This survey is intended to help ITP and Pearson anticipate schools’ needs and potential technology barriers as they prepare to deliver the new assessments. Technology coordinators in all public school districts and accredited non-public schools should have received this survey on August 15. If you haven’t completed it already, I encourage you to do so as information from this survey is critical for ITP and Pearson to ensure testing goes smoothly. If you did not receive it, please email Catherine Welch at ITP.
Designate a Point Person: Each school district and accredited non-public school should select a point of contact to receive communications from ITP, Pearson and the Department on the new assessment. You will receive an email from the Department requesting the name of your ISASP lead by September 10.
Become Familiar with the Online Testing Readiness Timeline and the New Platform: You can view both the timeline and download the TestNav8 App (link removed) to get a sense of the look and feel of the new assessment.
Watch for Upcoming Important Announcements: In the weeks ahead, look for announcements from ITP and Pearson on the cost of the new assessment as well as a detailed training schedule for professional learning.
In addition to assessment, you can expect to hear from me regularly in the months ahead about five additional opportunities, which include:
- Future Ready Iowa Regional Summits: These 17 day-long summits held across Iowa will bring together key stakeholders in education, business, economic development and community organizations to create local strategies to ensure all Iowans are future ready.
- School Safety: The Department is sponsoring all-day workshops in each of the nine Area Education Agencies to help schools create high-quality emergency operations plans. The workshops will focus on the specific planning required by the recently passed emergency operations plan legislation, SF 2364.
- Early Literacy Blueprint Initiative: This joint effort between the Iowa Reading Research Center and the Iowa Department of Education focuses on improving the design and delivery of literacy instruction. The blueprint will include professional development modules delivered through a training-of-trainers approach and will support the larger statewide early literacy initiative.
- Work-Based Learning Virtual Clearinghouse: The Clearinghouse is a joint project between the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Area Education Agencies (AEA) Learning Online, and Iowa Workforce Development. The Clearinghouse will facilitate distance K-12 school-business partnerships and create an inventory of established and newly created work-based learning opportunities.
- Children’s Mental Health System State Board: This newly formed Board, which I co-chair with Iowa Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven, will be the single point of responsibility in the development and implementation of a Children’s Mental Health System. The focus will be on improving children’s well-being, building healthy and resilient children, providing for educational growth, and coordinating care for those in need.
The Department will also continue to focus on existing efforts, like ensuring the impact and improvement of Iowa’s Teacher Leadership and Compensation (TLC) system, expanding the reach and rigor of computer science through increasing access to high-quality professional development for teachers and launching computer science focused elementary schools, implementing Iowa’s Every Student Succeeds Act plan, as well as ensuring all students have access to exemplary career and technical education (CTE).
And you can expect to see me out in schools every week, as I’ve been doing over the last three plus years. By mid-December, I’ll have visited 180 of Iowa’s 330 public school districts.
While we have much work in front of us, I’m confident we will accomplish all of this and more through existing and emerging partnerships across the state. Thank you for all you do!
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