O'Brien County's Bell-Times-Courier -

New statewide assessment is on the way

Iowa students will be taking a new statewide assessment in the spring.


December 6, 2018

The new assessment, called the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress, or ISASP, is being developed by the Iowa Testing Programs at the University of Iowa following legislative action (HF2235).

Iowa students in grades 3 through 11 will be taking the ISASP this spring. The test will include the following content areas and grades:

Reading – grades 3-11

Language/Writing (which includes grammar and mechanics) – grades 3-11

Mathematics – grades 3-11

Science – grades 5, 8, 10

Although these tests are not timed, the recommended time allotment is 60 minutes each for the reading, mathematics, and science tests, and 120 minutes for the language and writing test. The test will be available in paper/pencil and online.

Tim Hazen, the director of test development with Iowa Testing Programs (ITP), said the window for test administration begins in March and extends through May.

English Language Arts skills tested will include reading comprehension, text-based writing, mechanics and usage. Artificial Intelligence will be used to score the writing, which will include the following considerations: the use of evidence from text; organization; language use, tone, and style; and production of writing, which includes the student’s ability to address the topic and produce a cohesive argument.

In mathematics, the skills tested align to the grade-level focus areas of the Iowa Core Mathematics Standards and item types will include multiple choice, technology enhanced item type, and shorter constructed response.

In science, the assessment will focus on the three dimensions of the Iowa Core Science Standards: practices, cross-cutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas.

“We spent a lot of time and resources on this ‘Next Generation’ science test,” Hazen said. “What we’re asking is just not recall, but is application of the skills students are learning. We’re excited about this test coming out in the spring.”

Students, schools, and districts can expect to get reports on the results of the assessment after the completion of a standard setting study. Proficiency and readiness indicators will be reported after the first year. Growth indicators will be available after year two.

According to Hazen, ITP has undertaken multiple efforts to ensure the alignment of the test to the Iowa Core standards.

“Everything from the initial writing of test items through item review, including having two panels review the items specifically for alignment to the Iowa Core, has been done to make sure our materials were meeting or exceeding those expectations,” he said.

This past June, ITP brought in teachers to review the initial set of materials for their alignment. For the second study, ITP contracted with an external vendor, the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO). The goal of this study was to confirm that the assessment appropriately assesses the breadth and depth of the Iowa Core.

As a part of this process, HumRRO conducted workshops where 40 Iowa educators were trained to perform the alignment tasks, looking at both the content of the item and its Depth of Knowledge. A broad representation of teachers from across the state from both larger and smaller districts was included in this work, Hazen said.

HumRRO has been working on a report that ITP will use as part of the test development process, but some preliminary feedback has already allowed ITP to make some changes to the tool, Hazen said. Text complexity, appropriateness of the passages to the grade, and appropriateness of the blueprints are some of the issues on which HumRRO provided feedback.

ITP plans to release information on the new assessment as it is developed. That information can be found at http://iowa.pearsonaccessnext.com/.


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