Some grades improved, others fell in proficiency Iowa Assessment results

Measures taken from 16-17 to 17-18


The Marshalltown School Board heard its last Iowa Assessments report ever earlier this week as the state prepares to give students a new test next school year.

District director of instruction Lisa Stevenson said the comparison of proficiency scores from the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years show “a mixed result.”

“Overall, we had some grade levels that showed some nice, positive increases in the percentage of students who were proficient,” she said. “We did have other grade levels that showed a decrease.”

The test asks students in third to 11th grade multiple-choice questions in the core areas of reading, math and science. The Iowa Department of Education collects student results data and releases the information to local school districts, who then can share the scores with parents and students.

“Overall, the most positive results came with our third graders and our eighth-11th (grade) students,” Stevenson said.

District sophomores performed especially well, improving proficiency percentage in all three core areas, according to the Department of Education data she shared with the board Monday.

Other grade levels didn’t perform so well. Fifth and sixth grade students, who attend Lenihan Intermediate School, showed decreased proficiency percentage in all three core areas.

Stevenson said one encouraging piece of data from the two years discussed Monday was the increase in proficiency growth. While not all students in every grade reached the grade-level proficiency standards set by the Department of Education, she said many students showed better-than-expected growth in their understanding of reading, math and science.

“Our kids are making positive growth at every grade level and every subject area,” Stevenson said. “At some levels, our average growth far exceeded the state and national (average).”

The new state standardized test set to replace the Iowa Assessments was also discussed. The Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Proficiency (ISASP) is set to be taken by Iowa students next spring.

“That test will be online and everyone in the state will take it in March, April and May,” Stevenson said. “In Marshalltown, we’re taking it the second week of April.”

According to the Department of Education website, the new assessment will test on reading, language and writing, and math in grades three to 11. Science will be assessed in grades five, eight and 10.

Stevenson said there will be other differences from the Iowa Assessment.

“It won’t just be multiple-choice … the new test will have short answer or writing embedded in it,” she said. “It makes it a little more rigorous.”

Stevenson said it is unknown when the department will release the results from the new test once it is completed next spring.

“It will be interesting to see what kind of level of reporting and information we get,” she said.

For more information on the new standardized assessment, visit


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