Iowa standardized tests go digital


Tim O'Leary

Students log into a practice test for the upcoming ISASP test which will be done entirely online. When tests are administered, they will begin via an application that prevents students from viewing other windows to make sure testing is an accurate gauge of student’s understanding.

Cameron Wilson, reporter

     Iowa Assessments are given to students in order to rate the state in education by comparing scores nationally. This will be the first year that Iowa Assessments go online.

     The new test, the Iowa Student Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP), will be taken on Chromebooks this April. Students will have access to calculators, notepads, an answer eliminator, text highlighter, a bookmark, and a text-to-speech option to name a few of the resources that come with this new online test.  

     A fifth grade math practice test was given to advisory classes in February to gear up for the new structure of the test. According to head counselor Erin Soedt, attendance for the practice test was at 87 percent, and was better than teachers and staff expected.

     “Students will be expected to be on time, bring Chromebooks [charged and ready], and be prepared to do their best,” Soedt said.

     Now that the test is online, the time limit has been removed to allow test takers to work at their own pace.

     “With the internet being moody, I’m worried we will have incomplete tests,” social studies teacher Jodi Zimmerman said.

     In lieu of past internet issues, a backup internet provider for the school will be used this year. According to head librarian Jennifer Kizer, the district’s Learning Information Services (LIS) has been good about recognizing problems with technology related issues at West. LIS felt confident that West’s internet could handle the information load better this year.

     “With a school of this size, we have to do what we can to make sure every student has a device,” Kizer said.

     Despite the practice test going better than expected, Soedt believes there were a couple of issues with the test. These issues were minimal, most of them relating to slow internet, and are being fixed in preparation for the test given on April 30, May 1, and May 2.

     “I think it’s important for our district to embrace the evolution of technology in the classroom, and this is one way how the Davenport community of schools is doing so at all grade levels,” Soedt said.