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November 18, 2021

Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) 2021

The Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) is the state-wide assessment that replaced the former Iowa Assessments in the 2018-2019 school year. Developed by Iowa Testing Programs at the University of Iowa for the state of Iowa, “the ISASP includes individual assessments in English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics, and Science intended for use within the last 12 weeks of the academic year. These summative assessments measure student achievement, growth and college and career readiness based on the Iowa Core Standards.” (ISASP Test Specification Guide, 2019).

Because this is a different test for students compared to the Iowa Assessments, results reset the baseline for student performance and should not be compared to tests other than the ISASP. The Department of Education also notes that because the new state test is more aligned to Iowa’s academic standards, it is more challenging than the old Iowa Assessments. A quick guide to differences between the tests can be found below:

Iowa Assessments

  • Multiple choice
  • Low Depth of Knowledge (Recall)
  • Norm referenced
  • Not aligned to standards


  • Multiple Response Types
  • High Depth of Knowledge
  • Criterion referenced
  • Aligned to IA Core Standard

Student performance on the ISASP is scored in three ways: Advanced, Proficient, and Not Yet Proficient. Student ISASP reports include a performance overview, domain scores, and growth comparisons to previous years (if available). Community members can also review the “Cut Score Ranges for Performance Levels” document, which determines which scores mark proficiency. Most families can view their students’ scores via the ISASP Parent Portal website. An overview of individual student’s performance is also available within the ACSD Infinite Campus Parent Portal accounts under “Assessments”.

ACSD students in grades 3-11 took these tests last spring. School-level results were released by the Department of Education to schools, parents and other stakeholders in fall 2021. Results will be used to report to parents and communities, to help guide instruction, and to assist us in our school improvement planning. The test results also will be applied to Iowa’s school accountability system required under federal law.

For the 2020-2021 school year, 72% of Ames students scored in the proficient and advanced ranges on the ELA assessment (compared to 69% state-wide), 69% scored as proficient or advanced on the mathematics assessment (compared to 65% state-wide), and 66% tested as proficient or advanced on the science assessment (compared to 61% state-wide.) 

This data was presented to the ACSD Board of directors, along with disaggregated results. That presentation is available below.

ISASP Board Presentation Regular Meeting (November 8, 2021)