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Iowa Assessments K12 Achievement Assessments

Spotlight on Iowa Assessments: Interpreting National Performance using the Iowa Assessments

Catherine Welch, Ph.D
Written By Catherine Welch, Ph.D
On Nov 7, 2019
0 minute read

Educators, parents, policymakers and students rely on the Iowa Assessments to provide important information about students’ current achievement and growth in their achievement across years. These nationally standardized achievement tests are designed to allow the comparison of each student’s performance in key content areas to that of students across the nation.

The Iowa Assessments are the most current edition of a nationally renowned achievement test that measures student achievement in reading, mathematics, language, science, and social studies. Results of the Iowa Assessments are reported in several metrics. These metrics have been designed to support a variety of interpretations including growth and relative comparisons. One metric, National Percentile Rank (NPR), indicates the status or relative rank of a student’s achievement compared with that of a nationally representative sample of students. This metric has allowed Iowa Testing Programs to chart educational progress since the 1950s, providing a basis for examining changes in national performance over time. The most recent NPRs for the Iowa Assessments are based on standardization studies conducted in 2017 in which national samples of public and private school students were assessed in all content areas. As a result, information from the Iowa Assessments allows educators and parents to compare an individual student’s or a local group of students’ performance to the most current estimate of national student performance available.

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