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Iowa Assessments Help Improve Instruction

Posted March 04, 2014 in Community Blogs

Starting the week of March 3, 2014, Fort Dodge students in grades 2 through 11 will take the Iowa Assessments (formerly known as the ITBS or ITEDS).

The main purposes of the Iowa Assessments are to provide the school with information that can be used to improve instruction and to help teachers make sound educational decisions about each student’s learning. The scores allow teachers to check each student’s year-to-year growth and to identify some of each student’s strong areas of achievement as well as areas of improvement. The Iowa Assessments give parents and schools information about performance related to the school, state and the nation.

The Iowa Assessments cover many of the fundamental skills students are learning in school in the areas of reading, mathematics, and science. Teachers, counselors, and administrators use the results to monitor students’ learning of some of the important skills taught in school. Scores from tests like the Iowa Assessments cannot replace a teacher’s observations and judgments, but they can provide useful supplementary information for the teacher, the parent, and the student. When test results are used in conjunction with other information from both the classroom and the home, teachers and parents can work together to identify and address the educational needs of each student.

Student growth on the Iowa Assessments is monitored by a National Standard Score (NSS). This score describes performance from kindergarten through high school and is based on scores from testing thousands of students to ensure reliability and validity of the tests.  These scores help teachers, parents and students track proficiency but also give a picture about year-to-year growth.   For more information on ranges of test scores by grade level, please go to this link:

While the NSS is a new score with Iowa Assessments, students and parents are still able to see their National Percentile Ranking (NPR) score on the Iowa Assessments as well. This score gives information comparing each student’s score to others in the nation in the same grade who took the test at the same time of year.  This score is based on a scale of 1-99, so a score of 65 means the students as well or better than 65 percent of grade levels peers testing during that particular norming period.

You can help your child prepare for these tests by:

  • Getting your child to bed on time. Research shows being well-rested helps students do better.
  • Resolving arguments immediately so they are not lingering on the child’s mind.
  • Keeping your routine as normal as possible.
  • Mentioning the test to show you’re interested but not dwelling on it.
  • Planning ahead to avoid conflicts the mornings of the tests.
  • Ensuring your child arrives to school on time and remains at school throughout the testing times
  • Providing a healthy breakfast for your students.

For more information about the Iowa Assessments, please visit the Iowa Testing Programs website at, or call the curriculum office at 515-574-5640.

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