Admission Tests Preparation

Iowa Assessments and ITBS Tests: Levels & Subjects Explained

Learn about the Iowa Assessments and ITBS subtests. Understand the various sub-categories, as well as the level and grading system, and discover the subjects that your child will be tested on. Click “Get It Now” to view our most comprehensive and popular practice pack for the 3rd Grade ITBS and Iowa Assessments.
3rd Grade Iowa Assessment (ITBS) Practice Pack

Over 800 questions with answer explanations, including two full-length practice tests.


About the ITBS Tests and Iowa Assessments

The Iowa Assessments and ITBS tests can be given either as a Complete, Core, or Survey Battery. The Complete Battery is a collection of standardized tests used to measure a wide range of skills. The Core Battery uses the same tests as the Complete Battery, with the exclusion of the Science and Social Studies subtests. The Survey Battery includes the tests for Reading and Mathematics, in addition to either the Language or Written Expression tests.

The Iowa Assessments and the Core Curriculum

The old version of the ITBS tested students of all levels with a series of subtests that only partially belonged to Iowa's Core Curriculum. As of 2011, with the introduction of the Iowa Assessments Forms E/F, all of the subtests administered across all levels measure student standards within Iowa's Core Curriculum. The Core Curriculum was developed by the University of Iowa's Board of Educators to best prepare learners for college readiness and their futures in the workforce. With this goal in mind, the College of Education of the University of Iowa now distributes more extensive post-exam reports in an attempt to provide effective feedback for student progress.

ITBS Tests and Iowa Assessments Grades and Levels

The tests on the Iowa Assessments in 2017 are divided into Levels 5–18, which correspond roughly to the age and grade of the student. Each test level consists of a series of subtests, and each subtest measures several different skills. Each level of the Iowa Assessments may be administered in their entirety, or with only some of the subtests.

Age GradeTest Level
5 K.1-1.5 5
6 K.7-1.9 6
7 1.7-2.3 7
8 2.3-3.2 8
9 3 9
10 4 10
11 5 11
12 6 12
13 7 13
14 8 14
15 9 15
16 10 16
17 11 17
18 12 18

Decimals in the "Grade" column indicate the month of the school year. For example, K.1–1.5 means the first month of kindergarten through the fifth month of first grade.

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Iowa Assessments and ITBS Subtests

There are five main subtests, which are further broken down into sub-categories that progress with test level. The five subtests are as follows:

  • Language Arts
  • Reading
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies

ITBS and Iowa Assessments: Language Arts

The Language Arts subtest for Levels 9–14 is broken down into the following categories:

  • Written Expression
  • Vocabulary
  • Conventions of Writing, which can be further broken down into Spelling, Capitalization, and Punctuation 

In Level 9, specifically, Word Analysis and Listening are administered as two additional sub-categories. 

As students advance to higher test levels, more sub-categories are administered. Among those sub-categories are:

  • Usage and Grammar
  • Sentence Structure
  • Planning and Organization
  • Appropriate Expression
  • Mechanics

ITBS and Iowa Assessments: Reading

The Reading subtest is administered in two parts for all test levels. In the early levels (5/6), the Reading subtest assesses student comprehension and word recognition, while in the remaining levels (7–18), Reading includes the following sub-categories, each progressing in difficulty as test levels increase:

  • Literary Text
  • Informational Text
  • Vocabulary
  • Explicit Meaning
  • Implicit Meaning
  • Key Ideas
  • Author's Craft

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ITBS and Iowa Assessments: Mathematics

The Mathematics subtest contains these same sub-categories in every level:

  • Number Sense and Operations
  • Algebraic Patterns and Connections
  • Geometry
  • Measurement

Beginning from Level 7, new sub-categories are introduced as follows:

Levels 7–8: Data Analysis, Probability, and Statistics 
In addition to this sub-category, a Computation subtest may be administered. This subtest examines student ability to compute using whole numbers. 

Levels 9–14: The sub-categories remain the same as Levels 7/8. However, the Math subtest is administered in two parts, each containing more questions with a progressively increasing time constraint corresponding to level advancement. Additionally, the Computation subtest expands to include computation of fractions and decimals, as well as algebraic manipulations. 

Levels 15–18: The Math subtest in each of these levels is administered as one test with a larger time constraint. The Computation subtest expands to include computation of percentages and integers. 

ITBS and Iowa Assessments: Science

The Science subtest is administered to Levels 7 and up. There are only three sub-categories included in all levels of the test, each increasing in difficulty with level progression. The sub-categories are as follows:

  • Life Science
  • Earth and Space Science
  • Physical Science

ITBS and Iowa Assessments: Social Studies

The Social Studies subtest is administered to Levels 7 and up. There are only four sub-categories included in all levels of the test, each increasing in difficulty with level progression:

  • History
  • Geography
  • Economics
  • Civics and Government

How Can I Prepare for the 2017 Iowa Assessments (ITBS)?

TestPrep-Online is here to help your child practice for the Iowa Assessments. We are currently developing more level-specific, child-friendly Iowa Assessments practice tests that will help your child prepare for test day. If your child is in the 3rd grade, he or she can start practicing for the Iowa Assessments now. Help your child arrive to test day feeling confident and prepared. To choose from one of our 3rd grade practice pack options visit our 3rd Grade Iowa Assessments and ITBS Tests page now.

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