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The Iowa Assessments and the ITBS are a collection of standardized achievement tests that assess foundational skills and higher order thinking (HOT) skills. Test scores rank students across national and local scales. Scoring can be given in a number of different forms depending on the primary purpose of administering the test.

How Are Iowa Assessments Scores Calculated?

The Iowa Assessments evaluates essential elements of the Iowa Core. In accordance with this, each of the five subtests that comprise the Iowa Assessments is measured across three levels of thinking: essential competencies, conceptual understanding, and extended reasoning. The state of Iowa has adopted standard scores for the reporting of proficiency levels. The proficiency levels are divided into Not Proficient (NP), Proficient (P), and Advanced (A). Subtests vary in their assignment of standard scores for each proficiency level.

What Types of Score Reports Are Available?

Score reports can appear as either standard scores, grade equivalents, or percentile ranks, and often the norm group varies (i.e. national or local). Score reports may either be comprised of overall test scores or presented as individual skills or item scores.

  • The National Standard Score (NSS) is a score that tracks your child’s achievement on a standard scale.
  • National Grade Equivalents (NGE) is a score that tracks your child on a grade-level scale. The numerical value assigned to the NGE is a decimal value that illustrates academic performance in terms of grade level and month. If your fourth grader, for example, scores a 5.2 on the Reading subtest, he or she has scored the average NGE for a fifth grader in his or her second month of the academic year.
  • A National Percentile Rank (NPR) indicates your child’s rank with other students across the United States. A percentile rank points to a percent of students in a given group with a lower score than your child, showing where he or she ranks within that group. Percentile ranks range from 1 to 99.

The National Standard Score for Iowa Assessments

The National Standard Score estimates the average score of students specific to age and grade. The following table presents the NSS breakdown for grades 1–11 at various points throughout the 2012 academic calendar.

NSS for Grades 1-11 Throughout the School Year

Grade Fall Midyear Spring
1 138 143 150
2 157 162 168
3 176 181 185
4 192 196 200
5 205 210 214
6 219 223 227
7 231 235 239
8 243 246 250
9 254 257 260
10 263 265 268
11 270 273 275

How Do I Determine What Score Is Needed?

Deciding what level of score detail your child can most benefit from is dependent on the primary purpose of taking the test. If the test is administered for instructional purposes, a more detailed report is generally more beneficial. If the scores will simply be reported back to you or to the public, less detail is necessary. If scores are meant to be used to examine student progress, a developmental score is most needed. This type of score translates to grade equivalents for primary grades and as standard scores for high school levels. If you child is due to take the Iowa Assessments or ITBS soon, help them prepare with our practice packs. We are currently offering a comprehensive 3rd Grade Iowa Assessments Pack that provides practice for the core battery test, as well as the Word Analysis and Listening subtests.

How Do I Determine What Norms Are Needed?

The norms required are determined based on what or who you choose to compare your child with. If the primary purpose of the test is to compare your child's scores with other students across the country, national norms are required. If the purpose of the test is to rank your child's level within his or her specific class or school district, then only local norms are necessary.

Preparing for the Iowa Assessments (ITBS)

To help your child become familiar with the content and format of the Iowa Assessments and ITBS tests, regular preparation sessions with practice tests are ideal. Our comprehensive 3rd Grade Iowa Assessment practice tests offer great resources that will help your child prepare for and pass the test.

Please note that the 3rd Grade Iowa Assessments (ITBS) practice pack does not include preparation materials for the social studies or the science subtests.

The Iowa Assessments, ITBS, and other trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with TestPrep-Online or this website.

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