Student Assessment (PK-12)
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Results of student assessments are used by all stakeholders to make program, staffing, professional development, instructional, financial, and personal decisions. They are an important component of both the Collecting/Analyzing Student data step and the On-going Data Collection step in the Iowa Professional Development Model. State-wide and district-wide summative assessments are mandated by Iowa Code (Chapter 12) and used for district accreditation and federal reporting, as defined by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) legislation. Formative assessments are on-going and are used to inform the instructional process and develop student learning goals.
|Summative Assessment||Formative Assessment|
Summative Assessments are assessments OF learning and are given at a point in time to measure and monitor student learning. They provide the feedback to educators, students, parents, and community members and are used to make adjustments in instructional programs, report student progress, identify and place students, and grade students.
Formative Assessment is assessment FOR learning. It is a process used by teachers and students as part of instruction that provides feedback to adjust ongoing teaching and learning to improve students’ achievement of core content. Formative assessment practices provide students with clear learning targets, examples and models of strong and weak work, regular descriptive feedback, and the ability to self-assess, track learning, and set goals. (Adapted from Council of Chief State School Officers, FAST SCASS)
Assessments and Accountability
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) legislation requires that states annually assess all students on achievement of grade-level, state-adopted standards in reading, mathematics, and science. To meet the requirements of the legislation, Iowa school districts and buildings must report assessment results for all students in reading and mathematics in grades 3 through 8 and one grade in high school. In science, student results are reported in one grade each for elementary, middle school, and high school. No more than 1% of students with significant cognitive disabilities must also be assessed in reading, mathematics, and science using an alternate assessment. Students identified as English language learners (ELL) are additionally assessed in grades K-12 on achievement of state-adopted English language proficiency standards.
State and Federally Required Assessments
The Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) replaces the Iowa Assessments as the accountability test for all Iowa students. The test, developed by Iowa Testing Programs (ITP) at the University of Iowa as per the Iowa Legislature, will debut in Iowa’s classrooms in the spring of 2019.
Assessments will be administered in the following subjects and grade levels:
- Mathematics: Grades 3 - 11
- English-Language Arts, including reading and writing: Grades 3 - 11
- Science: Grades 5, 8, and 10
Unlike the previous assessment, the ISASP will not be timed. Visit the ISASP website for more information.
To meet federal requirements, Iowa uses Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) for alternate assessments and English Language Proficiency Assessments for the 21st Century (ELPA21) for English language proficiency.
To meet state mandates, Iowa uses Teaching Strategies' GOLD to assess preschool. To meet Early Literacy Implementation (ELI) requirements for grades K-3, districts select from a Department-approved assessment list. Districts must use Early Literacy Alternate Assessment (ELAA) to meet ELI requirements when assessing students with significant cognitive disabilities.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests are administered periodically to a representative sample of students in grades 4 and 8 nationwide in math, reading, science, writing, the arts, civics, economics, geography, and U.S. history. NAEP, known as the nation’s report card, is the only state-by-state comparison of student progress. Since the Fall 2003, all states have been required to participate. See Iowa NAEP Results.
The Iowa Test Security Manual and the Statewide Assessment System Accessibility Manual should be followed by all assessment stakeholders in the State of Iowa. Please find short overview video clips with highlights from each manual.
District Assessment Coordinators report test security incidents and accommodation errors using the Testing Incident Reporting application available through the Iowa Education Portal. District Assessment Coordinators need an account and access to the reporting application within the portal. If the coordinator needs access to the portal and/or reporting application, contact your district's portal security officer.
The state produces an Annual Condition of Education Report that provides statewide demographic, curriculum, staffing, financial, and achievement data to help districts and policymakers evaluate the state's educational system and ensure it is meeting the needs of students and communities.