Student Assessment (PK-12)
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Student assessments can be identified as formative and summative. The results of the 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
All students must take a variety of achievement tests every year to determine how much and how well they are learning. Iowa's assessment system is included in the state's ESSA plan.
Required Student Assessments
Locally Required Assessments
Districts must annually administer district-wide assessments in reading, math and science, and they must align their assessments to their curriculum and Iowa Core content standards. These assessment tools are selected by the district and must be complementary (not identical to) to the state required tests. For more information about local assessments, contact the district's curriculum director or building principal.
State and Federally Required Assessments
Iowa 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 10)
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 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.