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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.

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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.

Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP)

The Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) is the summative accountability assessment for all Iowa students that meets the requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The test was developed by Iowa Testing Programs (ITP) at the University of Iowa as per the Iowa Legislature (HF 2235) and was first administered in the spring of 2019. The ISASP is aligned to the Iowa Core academic standards and accurately describes student achievement and growth.

Assessments will be administered in the following subjects and grade levels:

  • Mathematics: Grades 3-11
  • English-Language Arts, including reading and writing: Grades 3-11
  • Science: Grades 5, 8, and 10

Visit the ISASP website for more information.

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 science. The tests are aligned to the Iowa Core Essential Elements and accurately describe student achievement. The assessment is instructionally embedded with assessment windows in the fall and spring. Students who meet the alternate assessment participation criteria are administered tests in the following subjects and grade levels:

  • Mathematics - Grades 3-11
  • English-Language Arts, including reading and writing - Grades 3-11
  • Science - Grades 5, 8, and 10

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas. Assessments are conducted periodically in mathematics, reading, science, writing, the arts, civics, economics, geography and U.S. history. 

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.

Iowa Results

Iowa results of the NAEP are released as the Nation’s Report Card, which provides the latest results and reports. The State Profiles tool can be used to find key data about state performance on the NAEP assessments in mathematics and reading at grades 4 and 8, and science at grade 8. View trends and demographics for each state and compare results to the nation and to other states. If you want a deeper analysis of NAEP data, the NAEP Data Explorer allows you to create custom reports, statistical tables, and graphics using NAEP data.

NAEP Information and Resources

Other Summative Assessments

ACT - 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.

SAT - 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.

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.

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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. Portal for NAEP Questions.

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.

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