Educators in Zionsville Community Schools use a variety of standardized assessment tools to learn more about student needs and achievement. Some of these tests are required by state law. Others have been thoughtfully chosen by ZCS teachers to provide information about student needs so that they may adjust instruction appropriately during the school year.
AIMSWeb Benchmark Assessments (Grades 1-8)
AIMSWeb is a progress monitoring system that allows teachers to quickly assess students’ reading fluency, their basic reading comprehension, and basic math skills. AIMSWeb tests are typically brief. The measure of reading fluency, for instance, is a text given to a student to read aloud for one minute allowing the teacher to assess the student’s rate and accuracy as an oral reader. Math probes are brief quizzes, typically about 30 questions, covering a wide range of math skills. Teachers can compare results to national grade-level norms to determine student percentiles, showing how they perform relative to grade-level peers nationally. AIMSWeb probes/prompts can be given throughout the year, allowing benchmarking of student progress and growth. Results are logged into a web-based management system allowing teachers to print reports for their own use or to share with parents/students as needed. AIMSWeb is used more frequently with elementary students and students who are working to close gaps in their learning skills so that teachers can determine if the students are responding to instruction.
IREAD-3 (Indiana Reading Evaluation and Determination) (Grade 3)
The IREAD-3 assessment is a test of basic reading skills that was developed by the Indiana Department of Education in accordance with Public Law 109. This law requires all third grade students to be assessed in reading foundational skills and to meet third grade proficiency before moving on to fourth grade. State law mandates remediation, retesting, and possible grade level retention for students not meeting proficiency on the IREAD-3 assessment.
ILEARN (Grades 3-8 and 10)
ILEARN measures student achievement and growth according to Indiana Academic Standards. ILEARN is the summative accountability assessment for Indiana students and assesses:
ILEARN is a standards-based, computer-adaptive test. The goal of a standards-based, computer-adaptive test is to enact a complex blueprint that ensures breadth of coverage of the state’s content standards, as well as the depth of knowledge of those standards as also defined in the standards.
IAM (Indiana’s Alternate Measure) (Grades 3-8 and 10)
IAM measures student achievement and growth according to Indiana’s Alternate Academic Standards or Content Connectors. IAM is the summative accountability assessment for students with significant cognitive disabilities in grades 3-8. It assesses:
Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress (ISTEP+) (Grade 10)
Students in grade 10 take the ISTEP+ test in the spring of each year during two different windows (the first in March and the second in April/May).The purpose of the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress Plus (ISTEP+) is to measure student achievement in the subject areas of English/language arts and mathematics. Students will take the ISTEP+ math and English/language arts tests during their 10th grade year and must pass as a requirement for graduation. ISTEP+ reports student achievement levels according to the Indiana Academic Standards adopted by the Indiana State Board of Education. The ISTEP+ assessment is criterion-referenced and is designed to measure students’ mastery of the standards. Students are not compared to others but are simply striving to answer enough questions correctly to attain a passing score which is set by the state. Student performance on ISTEP+ is part of school accountability measures required by law.
Students in grades K-8 take the NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests each fall, and K-4 in the spring along with some of our 5-8 students for benchmark purposes (and, at teacher option, in winter). This brief computerized assessment (about 40-50 questions each in math, reading, and language skills) creates a personalized assessment experience by adapting to each student’s learning level as the student progresses through the test. The bank of questions has a broad range, and thus, it offers a measure of growth and achievement beyond grade level standards which is extremely helpful for teachers with high performing students to determine whether their students are adequately challenged by instruction. NWEA is a growth-based assessment and provides national norms and expectations for typical learner growth in a year of instruction. Scores are used to determine readiness levels for learning various concepts and student growth percentiles.
Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT) (Grades 1 and 3)
The OLSAT is given to students in grades 1 and 3. This test is given orally to 1st graders and on the computer to 3rd graders and assesses cognitive abilities correlating to school success similar to an IQ test of aptitude in verbal and nonverbal skills. Scores are one of the measures used in the state-required high ability identification process and are normed based upon a child’s age in months rather than grade level in school.
WIDA (Grades K and 12)
Under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Title III (Language Instruction for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Students) requires that schools identify limited English proficient students, assess their progress in English language proficiency, and provide eligible children with services that would increase their English proficiency and their academic achievement.
The purpose of the English Language Proficiency assessments is to determine a student's level of English proficiency. A Placement Test, administered upon a student's arrival in the United States, is used to determine which English Learner (EL) services are appropriate for the student. The annual assessment, administered in January and February, is used to determine the student's current level of English proficiency. The annual assessment is also used for accountability purposes.
Indiana’s ESEA Flexibility Waiver requires the state to adopt an English language proficiency assessment that is college- and career-ready and aligned to Indiana’s English language development standards. Indiana adopted the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) English language development standards in October 2013. WIDA offers a comprehensive assessment system that consists of the WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test (W-APT), WIDA ACCESS for ELLs and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs.
College Board PSAT/NMSQT (Grades 9-11)
Students in grades 9, 10 and 11 will take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), a standardized test administered by the College Board and co-sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). Approximately 3.5 million students take the PSAT/NMSQT each year. The PSAT/NMSQT provides students a chance for early preparation for the SAT as it measures the same skills, format, directions, and question types. Additionally, students who take the PSAT/NMSQT receive free access to personalized online college-planning guides and tools driven by their test results which assist them with college major and career exploration. Each student’s Score Report will provide personalized feedback on test performance, ability to see questions answered incorrectly and suggestions to improve academic skills where assistance is still necessary.
Advanced Placement (AP) Assessments (Optional, High School)
Advanced Placement (AP) is a program created by the College Board which offers college-level curricula and examinations to high school students. The AP curriculum for each of the various subjects is created for the College Board by a panel of experts and college-level educators in that field of study. For a high school course to have the AP designation, the course must be audited by the College Board to ascertain that it satisfies the AP curriculum. Students may opt to take the AP examinations for various courses in May. American colleges and universities often grant placement and course credit to students who obtain high scores on the examinations which are scored using a 1-5 point system.