ACCUPLACER is an integrated system of computer-adaptive assessments designed to evaluate students’ skills in reading, writing, and mathematics to assess student preparedness for introductory credit-bearing college courses. This is often required as part of the admission process of a community college.


American College Testing (ACT) designed the ACT Assessments to measure high school students’ general educational development and ability to succeed at the college level. A composite ACT score measures overall educational development and is based on assessments for English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning. 


The Advanced Placement (AP) Program, sponsored by the College Board, offers 37 courses in 22 subject areas. The AP courses are taught by highly-qualified high school teachers who use the AP Course Descriptions to guide them and AP examinations are offered once a year in the Spring by the College Board. AP provides secondary school students the opportunity to take college-level courses in a high school setting. Decorah High School offers 7 of the available AP courses.


The Dynamic Learning Maps serve as Iowa’s Alternate Assessment for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities whose academic performance is appropriately judged against alternate achievement standards. The DLM assessment measures student performance in Reading, Mathematics, and for some students, Science. The tests are aligned to the Iowa Core Essential Elements.


Iowa Code section 279.68 and 281–Iowa Administrative Code 62 (Iowa’s Early Literacy Implementation) require that all students in kindergarten through third grade participate in universal screening in reading to determine their level of reading or reading readiness.


In addition to the assessments required for all students, ESSA also requires assessments of English Learners under the provision of Title III. The English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century, used to meet this requirement, includes subtests in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. English Learners (ELs) need to be assessed every year until they achieve proficiency. This includes all students receiving ESOL/bilingual/dual language services. The tests are aligned to the Iowa Core.

ELPA21 Dynamic Screener

The ELPA21 Dynamic Screener is a tool for determining English Learner eligibility for students entering grades Kindergarten through 12. The screener meets the Local Education Agency’s (LEA) obligations under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Education Opportunities Act (EEOA), and identification of ELP status in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the Act’s reauthorization in 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).


FAST™ reading and math assessments combine Computer-Adaptive Tests (CAT) to screen student achievement and highly sensitive Curriculum-Based Measures (CBM) to monitor growth over time. Both can be used for quick, reliable insights into student literacy and math skills to guide on-time, effective interventions that accelerate students toward their goals. The reading and math suite can be used on its own to assess students’ specific strengths and skill gaps in both content areas, or in conjunction with behavior measures for a more holistic view of achievement.

GOLD Assessment

GOLD® is an ongoing observational assessment tool–based upon years of feedback from thousands of educators and important new research about how children develop and learn.

GOLD® is an assessment system that helps teachers be intentional in their teaching by accurately pinpointing where children are in their development and learning. It’s a teacher-friendly, easy-to-understand approach to observation, documentation, portfolio-building, and reporting–the essential components of a high-quality assessment system.

Districts are required to assess all preschool children enrolled in any district program with GOLD®. Iowa Code 279.60 was amended in 2013 to include the GOLD® assessment for every resident prekindergarten or four-year-old child whose parent or guardian enrolls the child in a district program. Examples include three-year-old, four-year-old, and mixed age preschool classrooms, as well as those in which a child receives early childhood special education services. It also includes any community based early childhood program that receives Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program funding or Shared Visions preschool funding. 


The Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) are assessments developed by Iowa Testing Programs at the University of Iowa for the state of Iowa. The assessments are aligned with the Iowa Core standards and provide a clear and accurate assessment of student learning outcomes. Student growth, proficiency, and readiness indicators are reported.

HF 2235, signed in to law on March 28, 2018, requires that the State Board of Education adopt administrative rules designating the “assessment developed by the Iowa Testing Programs within the University of Iowa College of Education and administered by the Iowa Testing Programs’ designee” as Iowa’s statewide summative assessment of student progress. The assessment must be aligned to the Iowa Core academic standards; accurately describe student achievement and growth; be available in both paper-and-pencil and computer-based formats; and meet the requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).” 

All students enrolled in school districts will be administered the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress in the following subjects and grade levels during the final quarter of the school year:

  • Mathematics — Grades 3 – 11
  • English-Language Arts, including reading and writing — Grades 3 – 11
  • Science — Grades 5, 8, and 10


Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) is a non-profit organization that has assessed over 4.5 million students. NWEA has a presence in 49 foreign countries, 50 states, and 3400 districts. NWEA offers the computerized Measures of Academic Progress assessment. MAP assessments, given in grades 5-11,  are adaptive and offered in Reading, Language Usage, Science, and Mathematics. When taking a MAP test, the difficulty of each question is based on how well a student answers all of the previous questions. As the student answers correctly, questions become more difficult. If the student answers incorrectly, the questions become easier. In an optimal test, a student answers approximately half the items correctly and half incorrectly. The final score is an estimate of the student’s achievement level.


Federal law requires that all states receiving Title I funds participate in the NAEP reading and mathematics assessments at fourth and eighth grades. Beginning in 2003, all states participate in the NAEP project. School districts within the state receiving Title I funding are chosen, at random, to participate. Students are randomly selected to participate and each student takes only a portion of the entire test. All students are included in the assessment with accommodations allowed for Students With Disabilities (SD) and Limited-English-Proficient (LEP) students.


The Preliminary SAT, also known as the PSAT/NMSQT® (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test), is a preparatory version of the SAT exam. If they earn a high score on the PSAT during their junior year, they could qualify to receive a National Merit Scholarship. Each year $180 million dollars in merit scholarships are awarded. Testing student skills in reading, writing, and math, the PSAT is 2 hours and 45 minutes long.


The Social, Academic, Emotional, Behavioral Risk Screener (SAEBRS) is a brief and efficient tool for universal screening of student risk for social-emotional and behavioral problems for students in Grades K through 12.


The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is taken by approximately 4% of Iowa high school graduates. It measures critical reading and mathematics. Iowa students traditionally do well on the SAT with Iowa ranked second in the nation in 2006.