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Information About The Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) Tests
Testing Information for the ITBS
Portions of the following material were taken from the University of Iowa College of Education website. Please see our links and source sections at the bottom of the page for more details and references.
General Description of the Tests
Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS)
- Grades: K-8
- The Iowa Statewide Testing Program is a voluntary, non profit cooperative program for Iowa schools provided as a service to the schools by the College of Education of The University of Iowa.
- The emphasis in the program has been on the use of ITBS results for instructional purposes.
Purposes of the ITBS Batteries, Levels 5-8 (Grades K-2)
- Levels 5-6 (Grades K-1)
- Level 5: Kindergarten
- Level 6: fall and midyear of Grade 1
- Level 5 Battery assess the extent to which a child is cognitively prepared to begin work in the academic aspects of the curriculum.
- The Level 6 Battery is similar in content and purpose to the Level 5 Battery. However, it includes an optional reading test for use with students whose literacy skills have begun to develop.
- Levels 7-8 (Grades 1-2)
- Level 7: spring of Grade 1 and fall of Grade 2
- Level 8: midyear and spring of Grade 2
- Subjects: Language, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, and Sources of Information
- The purpose of these batteries is to provide information about student progress in a curriculum that expands in breadth and depth with each additional grade level.
Purposes of the ITBS Batteries, Levels 9-14 (Grades 3-8)
- The main purpose of using a standardized achievement battery is to provide information that can be used to improve instruction.
- To provide unique supplementary information that bears on decisions about selecting learning objectives and procedures, designing or choosing instructional materials, and creating an effective learning environment.
Description of ITBS, Levels 5-8 (Primary Grades)
- Levels 5 and 6: Listening Vocabulary.
- Levels 7 and 8: Reading Vocabulary
- Word Analysis
- Assess how well students can recognize letters and letter-sound relationships
- Reading Comprehension
- Level 5: There is no Reading Comprehension test in the Level 5 Battery.
- Levels 6-8: Using print, context, and picture cues to identify unfamiliar words; completing sentences that tell about a picture by choosing a word for filling in a blank; and answering multiple-choice questions after reading a brief story
- Short oral scenarios are presented, and then one or more multiple-choice questions are read
- Levels 5 and 6: Measure students' abilities to understand linguistic relationships -- how language is used to express ideas
- Levels 7 and 8: Skills in spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and skills in usage and expression in writing
- Levels 5 and 6: Beginning math concepts, problem solving, math operations, numeration, number systems, geometry, measurement, and the use of addition and subtraction in word problems
- Levels 7 and 8:
--- Math Concepts: numeration and number systems, whole numbers, geometry, measurement, fractions, currency, and number sentences
--- Math Problem Solving: solve brief word problems and interpret information presented in graphs and tables
--- Math Computation: addition and subtraction problems
- Social Studies
- Only the Levels 7 and 8 batteries contain a Social Studies test.
- The content is taken from the areas of geography, history, government, economics, sociology, and the other social sciences.
- Only the Levels 7 and 8 batteries contain a Science test.
- The content is taken from the areas of life science, earth and space sciences, and physical sciences.
- Sources of Information
- Only the Levels 7 and 8 batteries contain a Sources of Information test.
- The main skills measured are alphabetizing, using a picture dictionary, using a table of contents, and using maps to determine location, direction, and distance.
Description of ITBS, Levels 9-14 (Grades 3-8)
- Each multiple-choice question on the Vocabulary test presents a word in the context of a short phrase or sentence, and students select the answer that most nearly means the same as that word.
- Reading Comprehension
- Included are fiction, fables, tales, poetry, interviews, diaries, biographical sketches, science and social studies materials, and other nonfiction.
- Each Spelling question presents four words, one of which may be misspelled, and a fifth option, No mistakes, for use when all four words are spelled correctly.
- Require students to identify errors -- undercapitalization or overcapitalization -- presented in brief written contexts.
- Capitalization of names and titles, dates and holidays, places, organizations and groups, and other words is tested.
- Require students to identify errors in punctuation, including underpunctuation and overpunctuation.
- Questions relate to the use of terminal punctuation, commas, apostrophes, quotation marks, colons, and semicolons.
- Usage and Expression
- In the first part of the Usage and Expression test, each item contains one or two sentences arranged in three lines. Students must identify the line of text containing a usage error, or they may select No mistakes if they believe no error is present. Errors in the use of verbs, personal pronouns, and modifiers are included.
- In the next part of the test, students must choose the best or most appropriate way of expressing an idea that has been presented as a sentence or a paragraph. Choices involve issues of conciseness, clarity, appropriateness of expression, and the organization of sentence and paragraph elements.
- Math Concepts and Estimation
- Math Concepts: Students must demonstrate an understanding of math ideas, relationships, and visual representations. The questions deal with number properties and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, and probability and statistics
- The second part of the test is on computational estimation and number sense and measures students' mental arithmetic and estimation skills. Problems are presented both with and without an applied context, and each requires the use of one of several rounding or estimation methods.
- Math Problem Solving and Data Interpretation
- Consist of word problems that require one or more steps to solve
- In other parts of the test, data are presented in tables and graphs, and students must use the data displays to obtain information, compare quantities, and determine trends or relationships.
- Math Computation
- Each problem in the Math Computation test requires the use of one arithmetic operation -- addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. The problems require operations with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and various combinations of these.
- Social Studies
- The content of the questions is drawn from the areas of history, geography, political science, economics, sociology, and anthropology.
- Many questions measure knowledge and skills in the areas of life science, earth and space sciences, and physical sciences.
- Maps and Diagrams
- The specific map skills tested include locating places, determining directions and distances, and interpreting data. Other questions on the test use charts and diagrams to measure students' abilities to understand information presented visually.
- Reference Materials
- Measure the ability to use reference materials and library resources to obtain information
- At all test levels there are questions about using search strategies, keywords, a dictionary, and general reference materials. At the lower levels, students must also demonstrate the ability to alphabetize and to use a table of contents. At the upper levels, additional skills tested include note-taking and using electronic sources and an index.
- Word Analysis (Level 9 only)
- Provides detailed diagnostic information about a student's ability to identify and analyze distinctive features of the sounds and symbols of oral and written language
- A variety of skills involving sound-letter association, decoding, and word structure are represented as they apply to initial, medial, and final sounds and to silent letters, initial syllable, final syllable, suffix, and compound words.
- Listening (Level 9 only)
- Measures the skills that students need to comprehend written material when it is presented orally
- The Complete Battery for grades 3-8 takes approximately five and one-half hours to administer. In addition, the Level 9 Word Analysis and Listening tests require 20 and 25 minutes, respectively.
- It is preferable to give the Complete Battery tests in either six or eleven sessions on six different days.
The Iowa Tests of Basic Skills
Source Accessed Date:
August 31, 2012
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