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Statewide Assessment Requirements


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A variety of summative assessments (assessments OF learning) are used in the state of Iowa to meet federally and state mandated assessment requirements. These assessments are used to determine whether student subgroups, public schools, and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) make adequate yearly progress (AYP). Iowa Code subsection 256.7(21)(c) requires school districts, as accredited in Iowa, to annually report the progress of student achievement in their Annual Progress Report (APR).


Federally Mandated Requirements

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation requires that all states assess all students 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 in grade 11. In science, student results are reported in grades 5, 8 and 11. Students identified as English language learners (ELL) are additionally assessed using the English Language Development Assessment (ELDA). Students with significant cognitive disabilities are assessed using the Dynamic Learning Maps as an alternative to the Iowa Department of Education Assessments.

In Iowa, all public schools and LEAs are held to the same process and criteria for making adequate yearly progress toward 100% proficiency. For purposes of AYP accountability, all public schools and LEAs are judged by performance and improvement on the Iowa Assessments. These measures are the common comparable measures across all school districts, thus, ensuring fairness, validity, and reliability when making unbiased, rational, and consistent determinations of the annual progress of LEAs and schools within the state. All schools and districts are expected to make improvement in student achievement.


State Mandated Requirements

On June 3, 2013 Governor Terry Branstad sign House File 215:

DIVISION V ASSESSMENTS Sec.47.Section256.7 subsection 21, paragraph b, Code 2013, is amended to read as follows:

b. A set of core academic indicators in mathematics and reading in grades four, eight, and eleven, a set of core academic indicators in science in grades eight and eleven, and another set of core indicators that includes but is not limited to graduation rate, postsecondary education, and successful employment in Iowa.

(1) Annually, the department shall report state data for each indicator in the condition of education report. Rules adopted pursuant to this subsection shall specify that the approved district-wide assessment of student progress administered for purposes of this paragraph the indicators shall be the assessment utilized by school districts statewide in the school year beginning July1, 2011, or a successor assessment administered by the same assessment provider.

(2) Notwithstanding subparagraph (1), for the school year beginning July1, 2016, and each succeeding school year, the rules shall provide that all students enrolled in school districts in grades three through eleven shall be administered an assessment during the last quarter of the school year that at a minimum assesses the indicators identified in this paragraph “b”; is aligned with the Iowa common core standards in both content and rigor; accurately describes student achievement and growth for purposes of the school, the school district, and state accountability systems; and provides valid, reliable, and fair measures of student progress toward college or career readiness.


Additional State Mandated Requirements

Chapter 12 of Iowa Code Relating to Student Assessment

Topic: Assessment of student achievement: All students
Rule: Each school or school district shall include in its comprehensive school improvement plan provisions for district-wide assessment of student progress for all students. The plan shall identify valid and reliable student assessments aligned with local content standards, which include the core content standards referenced in subparagraph 12.8(1)(c)(2). These assessments are not limited to commercially developed measures.

Rule Interpretation:

  • District-wide means all attendance centers within a school district or accredited nonpublic school.
  • District-wide assessment means large-scale achievement or performance measures.
  • Students with disabilities participate in district wide assessment as indicated on the IEP.
  • Students with significant cognitive disabilities (1%) participate in the Dynamic Learning Maps if indicated on their IEP.
  • The district-wide assessment plan must assess student progress on all content standards in reading, mathematics, and science.
  • The choice of which assessments to use are a local decision.
  • School districts are providing evidence for the technical adequacy of district-wide assessments through the Iowa Technical Adequacy Project (ITAP).

Note for only public school districts: NCLB requires that all students be tested if they are enrolled in school on the day of testing. Testing windows for the Iowa Assessments are established by Iowa school districts in accordance with Iowa Testing Program guidelines. The testing windows are three weeks in the autumn, three weeks in the winter, and three weeks in the spring. (Beginning in the 2016-17 school year, the only testing window will be in the spring.) It is expected that a school building and the district can report results for all district enrolled and open-enrolled students.

Chapter 12 Citation: 281—IAC 12.8(1)(f)(1)

Topic: Assessment of student achievement - State indicators.
Rule: Using at least one district-wide assessment, a school or school district shall assess student progress on the state indicators in, but not limited to, reading, mathematics, and science as specified in subrule 12.8(3). At least one district-wide assessment shall allow for, but not be limited to, the comparison of the school or school district's students with students from across the state and in the nation in reading, mathematics, and science. A school or school district shall use additional assessments to measure progress on locally determined content standards in at least reading, mathematics, and science.

Rule Interpretation:

  • Multiple assessment measures, for reporting to the local community or state, means more than one valid and reliable instrument that quantifies district-wide student learning, including specific grade level data.
  • The multiple measure/s can be given at any grade level. This is a local decision.
  • At a minimum, a school district or accredited nonpublic school must have at least one additional assessment in reading, mathematics, and science.


Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on March 28, 2015 at 5:01am.