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Summative Assessment


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Summative assessment is the assessment OF student learning. Assessments used in this manner are given at a point in time to measure students’ achievement in relation to a clearly defined set of standards. The results of these assessments have a variety of uses. They are used to report to the community the academic proficiency of students in both the community and the state. They are used to assist both school districts and the Department of Education in making decisions about the effectiveness of the curriculum used, the number of staff to hire, the goals of professional development, and budgetary needs. Students and parents use the information from these assessments to make personal decisions and set personal goals. Community members use the information for promotional and budgetary decisions.


Statewide Assessment Data

A variety of summative assessments are used in the state of Iowa to meet federally and state mandated assessment requirements.  Student achievement data is reported annually in the Annual Condition of Education Report and in the State Report Card.

Iowa Assessments

Iowa currently uses the Iowa Assessments as the federally required annual statewide assessment. The following subtests are used for federal reporting:

  • Reading (given in 2 parts for 3-8 grades and 1 test for grades 10 and 11)
  • Mathematics (given in 2 parts for 3-8 grades and 1 test for grades 10 and 11)
  • Science (given in grades 5, 8 and 11)

English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21)

In addition to the assessments required for all students, ESSA also requires assessments of English Learners under the provision of Title III. The ELPA21 is the English language proficiency assessment of listening, speaking, reading, and writing used to meet this requirement. English Learners (ELs) need to be assessed every year until they achieve proficiency. This includes all students receiving ESOL/bilingual/dual language services. The tests are aligned to the Iowa Core.

Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM)

The Dynamic Learning Maps serve as Iowa’s Alternate Assessment for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities whose academic performance is appropriately judged against alternate achievement standards. The DLM assessment measures student performance in Reading, Mathematics, and for some students, Science. The tests are aligned to the Iowa Core Essential Elements.

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

Federal law requires that all states receiving Title I funds participate in the NAEP reading and mathematics assessments at fourth and eighth grades. Beginning in 2003, all states participate in the NAEP project. School districts within the state receiving Title I funding are chosen, at random, to participate. Students are randomly selected to participate and each student takes only a portion of the entire test. All students are included in the assessment with accommodations allowed for Students With Disabilities (SD) and Limited-English-Proficient (LEP) students.

Visit the national NAEP webpage for more information.

Other Summative Assessments


American College Testing (ACT) designed the ACT Assessments to measure high school students’ general educational development and ability to succeed at the college level. A composite ACT score measures overall educational development and is based on assessments for English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning. In 2006, 65% of Iowa high school graduates took the ACT and received an average composite score of 22.1, the third highest in the nation among states where 50% or more students took the test.

View the Annual Condition of Education Report for more information on how Iowa students do on the ACT.


The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is taken by approximately 4% of Iowa high school graduates. It measures critical reading and mathematics. Iowa students traditionally do well on the SAT with Iowa ranked second in the nation in 2006.

View the Annual Condition of Education Report for more information on how Iowa students do on the SAT.

Advanced Placement (AP) Exams

The Advanced Placement (AP) Program, sponsored by the College Board, offers 37 courses in 22 subject areas. The AP courses are taught by highly-qualified high school teachers who use the AP Course Descriptions to guide them and AP examinations are offered once a year in May by the College Board. AP provides secondary school students the opportunity to take college-level courses in a high school setting.

Visit the Advanced Placement Courses webpage for more information.


Articles for Use in Professional Development

Alignment of Standards And Assessments as an Accountability Criterion
La Marca, P. M., (2001). Alignment of standards and assessments as an accountability criterion. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 7(21). Retrieved November 1, 2007 from

The article provides an overview of the concept of alignment and the role it plays in assessment and accountability systems.

The Concept of Statistical Significance Testing
Thompson, B., (1994). The concept of statistical significance testing. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 4(5). Retrieved November 1, 2007 from

The short article can help provide a better understanding of the concept of significance testing. The meaning of probabilities, the concept of statistical significance, arguments against significance testing, misinterpretation, and alternatives are discussed.

Designing Scoring Rubrics for Your Classroom
Mertler, C. A., (2001). Designing scoring rubrics for your classroom. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 7(25). Retrieved November 1, 2007 from

The article describes different types of scoring guides and includes seven steps to designing a scoring guide

Evaluating Classroom Communication: In Support of Emergent and Authentic Frameworks in Second Language Assessment
Mantero, M., (2002). Evaluating classroom communication: in support of emergent and authentic frameworks in second language assessment. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 8(8). Retrieved November 1, 2007 from

The article focuses on verbal communication or production rather than written communication and reading because verbal communication requires speakers to negotiate meaning with each other consistent with sociocultural theory.

Questions To Ask When Evaluating Tests
Rudner, L. M., (1994). Questions to ask when evaluating tests. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 4(2). Retrieved November 1, 2007 from

The article provides insight in test coverage and use, appropriate sample size, reliability, criterion validity, construct validity, content validity, test administration, test reporting, and test and item bias.

Using Customized Standardized Tests
Williams, P. L., (1989). Using customized standardized tests. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 1(9). Retrieved November 1, 2007 from

The article provides suggestions for improving district-wide assessments as well as describing several models.

Using NAEP to Confirm State Test Results in the No Child Left Behind Act
Stoneberg, B. D. (2007). Using NAEP to Confirm State Test Results in the No Child Left Behind Act. Practical Assessment Research & Evaluation, 12(5). Retrieved November 1, 2007 from

The article provides insights on the principles and “ground rules” for using NAEP achievement level scores.

Recommendations for Developing Classroom Performance Assessments and Scoring Rubrics
Moskal, B. M., (2003). Recommendations for developing classroom performance assessments and scoring rubrics. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 8(14). Retrieved November 1, 2007 from

The article provides a comprehensive set of recommendations for the development of performance assessments and scoring rubrics.


National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

Known as the Nation's Report Card, NAEP is the only nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

The website includes information from the U.S. Department of Education pertaining to the NCLB legislation.

Practical Assessment, Research and Evaluation

A peer-reviewed electronic journal designed to provide access to refereed articles that can have a positive impact on assessment, research, evaluation, and teaching practice.

Test Preparation

ACT Test Prep

ACT provides a site for students to obtain information on test preparation, frequently asked questions, test-taking tips, and samples test questions.

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Guide

A guide to answer such questions as "What subjects are assessed?" Additionally, the NAEP provides sample questions and sample booklets for use in the classroom. The sample questions are released items from previous years. The portal for NAEP Questions is found here.

SAT Preparation Center

College Board provides online courses in test preparation for the SAT, as well as other tests. They also have a free website for test preparation and test taking tips that are appropriate for the SAT.


Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on May 24, 2018 at 6:47pm.