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Student Assessment (PK-12)

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Student assessments include both formative and summative assessments. 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 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation. Formative assessments are on-going and are used to inform the instructional process and develop student learning goals.


Assessment OF Learning
(Summative Assessment)
Assessment FOR Learning
(Formative Assessment)

Assessment OF Learning (Summative Assessments) 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.

    Assessment FOR Learning (Formative Assessment) 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. As assessment for learning, 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 has been fully approved by the United States Department of Education.

      Student Assessments in Iowa at a Glance

      Local Assessments

      Districts must annually administer district-wide assessments in reading, math and science, and they must align their assessments to their curriculum or 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 Assessments

      Iowa currently uses the Iowa Assessments for grades 3-8 and 11 as our annual statewide assessment. The following Iowa Testing Programs subtests are used for federal reporting:

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

      National Assessments

      The National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) tests are conducted by the U.S. Dept. of Education to a representative sample of students in grades 4 and 8 nationwide. Prior to 2003, the tests were periodic and voluntary; since the Fall 2003, all states have been required to participate. See Iowa NAEP Results.

      Reporting 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.

      Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on April 30, 2017 at 4:51pm.