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Standardized Test Prep in Iowa

Standardized Test Prep in Iowa
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Iowa legislative code, called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), mandates both state-wide and district-wide summative assessments.  When that time of year comes around, it’s not just students who get anxiety about standardized tests; parents do too! The best way to de-stress about the Iowa standardized test period is to be fully aware of what to expect and to prepare your child as best you can for test success.

On this page, you will discover information about Iowa state test specifics, including the types of tests required, testing dates, and the grade levels targeted. You’ll also learn how you can help your child with Iowa standardized test practice.

What State Tests Are Available in Iowa?

According to the Iowa Department of Education, “Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) legislation requires that states annually assess school students on achievement of grade-level, state-adopted standards in reading, mathematics and science.”

School districts meet this legislative requirement by testing students in math and language arts in grades 3-8 and again for one grade during high school. Science testing occurs during one grade of elementary school, one grade of middle school, and one grade of high school.

Below you will learn more about the specific tests administered in Iowa schools.

  • Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) – This test is aligned with Iowa core standards and is offered in both online and paper and pencil format (however most schools opt to use the online version). Although it is not a timed test, students are encouraged to start and complete each test in a single testing day.  The following subjects are tested:
    • Math: Grades 3–11
    • English Language Arts, including reading and writing: Grades 3–11
    • Science: Grades 5, 8, and 10
  • Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) Assessments – This assessment is designed to validly measure the progress of students with significant cognitive disabilities. It maps a student’s learning throughout the course of a grade level. The DLM assess English Language Arts (ELA), and mathematics in grades 3-11. Science is a year-end assessment for grades 5, 8 and 10.
  • English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21) – This online assessment specifically measures four domains of English language proficiency: reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Although ESSA legislation applies to all schools in Iowa, it does not apply to individual students. Parents who want to opt their student out of standardized testing may request an opt-out form from their school for this purpose.

When is Standardized Testing in Iowa?

Summative tests, such as the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress, are administered in the Spring of each year. Formative assessments, such as the ELPA21, may be administered at any time during the school year.

Do Homeschoolers Have To Take the Iowa Standardized Test?

Whether or not a homeschooler will take a normed annual assessment depends on the option he/she is homeschooling under. Iowa Homeschool Laws give families several different legal options for homeschooling.

One of these options, Competent Private Instruction Option 2, with Opt-In Reporting, includes an annual assessment option, of which standardized test scores can be used to fulfill the reporting requirement. However, families who homeschool under any option in the state of Iowa can, upon advance-notice request,  participate in Iowa state testing at no cost.

Why would you have your child or teen take a standardized test if it was not required by law? There might be multiple reasons, such as:

  • To get a sense of how your child’s educational progress compares with those in his/her corresponding grade level across the state.
  • To compare your child’s academic growth year to year.
  • To pinpoint any learning gaps he or she may have.
  • Use of the Iowa achievement test as practice and exposure to other future normed test situations.

The Iowa Basic Test of Skills for Homeschool

One thing that can be confusing to homeschoolers curious about standardized testing is an assessment called the Iowa Basic Test of Skills (IBTS). Not to be confused with the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress, the ITBS (also called the Iowa Assessments) is a nationally normed test used by many homeschoolers across the U.S. It measures knowledge in the areas of reading, language arts, mathematics, science and social studies in grades K-8.

Many states whose homeschool laws require an annual standardized test accept the results of the Iowa Basic Test of Skills. Private homeschool testing services offer the test to families for a fee.

How Time4Learning Can Help with Iowa Test Prep

Time4Learning can be just the tool you need to help prepare your child for Iowa’s standardized tests. Our curriculum helps students build the fundamental skills which are most often assessed by standardized tests.

The online, multimedia lessons draw children and teens back to the curriculum again and again with humor, engaging videos, and a variety of types of offline and online learning activities. Many families in Iowa use the program to help their students prepare for annual assessments.

Here are some of the reasons these parents and students turn to Time4Learning for Iowa test prep:

  • Time4Learning’s English Language Arts instruction is systematic and covers most ELA areas tested on the ISASP such as vocabulary, word analysis, grammar rules, and reading comprehension.
  • High school level math courses offered by Time4Learning, such as algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and precalculus can help students prepare for the math portion of the ISASP.
  • Included with the curriculum in grades 3-8 are practice assessments that students can use to simulate the scenarios of testing and thus reduce test-related anxiety.
  • Many families use Time4Learning as an ESL supplement to help them refine and practice the skills addressed in the ELPA21.
  • Time4Learning offers a standards-based, interactive science curriculum, supported by Science4Us, that can help students prepare for science assessments.
  • Time4MathFacts, a game-based program for learning and retaining the key math facts tested on elementary assessments, is included in your Time4Learning subscription.
  • Our curriculum is a Certified Autism Resource by IBCCES which makes it a great asset for students on the spectrum and other special needs.

Through preparation and practice, your child can achieve successful results when taking standardized tests in Iowa. In addition, skill-building programs like Time4Learning can prepare your child and build their academic confidence while reducing test anxiety.

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