Students Across Iowa to Take New Accountability Exam This Spring

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IOWA -- Students across Iowa will take a new state accountability exam this spring.

Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) tests third through 11th grade students on reading, language, writing and math. Fifth, eighth and 10th grade students will be tested on science as well.

Schools have the opportunity to have students take the exam online or on paper. However, paper-pencil exams will be available for an additional cost.

Mary Grinstead, Des Moines Public Schools assessment data and evaluation director, said the district will be conducting exams online.

“In the spring of 2021, the tests will be adapted, meaning as students answer test questions correctly, the questions get a little bit more difficult. If they miss a question the questions get a little easier, until they hone in on exactly where the student is in their learning,” Grinstead said.

Grinstead said having an online adapted exam will help place a student in each subject.

“We have a lot of kids in Des Moines and across the state who are not exactly on grade levels, so if you are above grade level or below grade level, this online adapted test is going to give you a more accurate description of where you are in the grade,” Grinstead said.

Grinstead said teachers use student’s test scores to understand where they are academically.

In addition to an online format, there are parts of the exam that are not timed. Students have the ability to listen to some questions through headphones.

The exam window for schools to take the ISASP is March through May.

Des Moines Public Schools plans to test its students in April.

The exam is developed by the University of Iowa’s Testing Programs. The exam aligns with the Iowa Core standards set by the Iowa Department of Education.

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about the exam.


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