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I received my sons Iowa Tests scores and they are very low, should I be very concerned about this 1 test?


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Anonymous May 20, 2009


I received my sons Iowa Tests scores and they are very low, should I be very concerned about this 1 test?

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pantura May 20, 2009


Well, a test is a test and with the score being very low I would not ignore it and work on next steps to improve. Guess not something to "worry" about being the 1st test because with efforts it will improve.

Good luck!

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Rockland May 20, 2009


Basing all the facts on one test often times will not give you the true measure of your child's true ability. It might raise some red flags that you may want to bring to the attention of the teacher if scores are below average. These tests are to keep the schools accountable but not all children learn at the same pace or are at grade level.
Now if your child has been struggling in school on top of these low test scores you can always request for a full educational evaluation be conducted to rule out or uncover any learning disabilities.

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TeacherParent May 20, 2009


Many people question the purpose and certainly the value of standardized testing. Standardized testing is a fairly new thing in history - let's remember that George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, for example, never took any standardized test. Standardized tests were invented to process soldiers during World War II and were put into the educational process for the first time in the 1950s.

So what does it matter if someone doesn't do well on them for some people certainly don't. Any one who reads slowly or who thinks deeply is at a disadvantage when taking a standardized test. These kinds of tests were meant to be read fast and not over thought.

Do they really measure anything of value? There's questions about that too - doing well on standardized tests really means nothing more than that - you did well on the test. Sadly some colleges still use them for admissions purposes but that's been changing especially over the past few years. That your son did not do well on his first standardized test shouldn't concern you but that it might concern him. Children care very much about pleasing us, pleasing their teachers and doing well on the tests we give them. I taught my sons to take the standardized tests they were required to take but not to take their scores on them to heart.

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jennis July 6, 2009


The IOWA test (ITBS) is a long-established, very reliable test. I would certainly take it seriously. It's a tool; use it to determine the necessity for further action regarding your child's education. Is the school rigorous? Do they require homework and lots of practice? Do they practice "social promotion," which ends up hurting the entire school?

The test--any test--is not perfect, but it's less apt to give subjective, sugar-coated assessments, as we teachers (being compassionate humans) are sometimes tempted to do in our grading.

Best of luck.

John

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cskennedy November 12, 2011


When you say "1st test," Are you talking about the first one given the first six weeks of 1st grade? If so, I understand where you are coming from and have questions myself. We had our son's IQ tested at 4, before we started preschool. We wanted to make sure he was where he should be. He had great IQ scores. He had no problems in a rigerous private school, but he does not test well. We started a public school and he was out sick the first three days of the IOWA test. I was shocked at how low the scores where and I asked the teacher. She was not worried at all. After all he is a straight A student. I am more upset that they crammed his test into two days. He ranged from the 99% - to a low 25%. Which can not be correct in that category, b/c at 4 years old he scored nine years four months on vocabulary. So, environment, etc.. can affect scores. I am more concerned about the lack of instructional time in the mornings at his school. They waste so much time collecting money, etc.. that good instruction time is wasted. And, I do not think that one test gives a good relfection of any child.

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Professorcool December 20, 2011


Standardized testing, including occasional suggestions that the Federal Government should establish nationwide uniform educational tests, is basically a political gesture to convince the public that the politicians are "doing something" about the relatively low level of educational achievement in the United States. Because nobody wants to sit down and grade a couple of million tests each year, standardized tests rely heavily on "multiple choice" formats, in which students mark answers on some sort of document that is then scored by a machine. Students are presented with a question or problem, the answer to which is PRINTED RIGHT ON THE TEST ITSELF! The student just has to identify the correct answer.

This is not testing any sort of useful skill or knowledge, as nobody is ever going to pay you to address a problem for which they already know the solution. "Higher-Level" thinking requires the student to formulate his or her own approach and construct an answer or solution, not just pick the best one from a prepared list. But of course this would require someone to actually sit down and read the student's work, which no one is prepared to pay for.

As a norm-referenced assessment tool, I suppose such tests at least indicate how much skill at taking such tests a student has developed, compared to the average. But does it really measure anything other than the ability to identify the answer to a question when it is printed right on the paper in front of the student? I do not think so.

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farmersbranch January 1, 2012


This test is a very thorough testing of your child in about 10 different areas and then comparing their test results to thousands of other kids their same age.

It then gives you Percentile ranks on how your child tested compared to all the others. A score of 60% means your child did better than 60% of all kids on that particular area of the test. A score of 97% means your chlid tested better than 97% of those taking the test.

It is hard to believe report cards these days with grade inflation where a good grade is and A and an average grade is a B. So how well is he doing with a B? How does he compare with other kids in other schools?

The Iowa test is the only way to really see how your kid compares in these 10 areas to all other kids. You can only get general ideas from their report cards. So as a result, the Iowa test is your best indication on where your child's weak areas are and where he needs extra work.

One child of mine had an overall score of 89%, which means she scored better than 89% of all others, but part of that total score was a listening score of 17% and a vocabulary of 75% which we are working on for next year. Her weakest area last year was spelling so we downloaded hundreds of 2nd grade spelling words and she scored 99 percentile on spelling this year. I give myself an A for that one.

I think this Iowa score is my score as a parent as well. Can I increase it for next year? My three kids scored 99%, 89% and 97% and it is my goal for next year is to do better. It doesn't matter if they score 40% or 90%, your goal as a parent has always got to be to do better for the following year.

Make sure that they go to bed by 7:30 or 8:00pm (early) for that week of testing.

All school year rules:
Parent tip 1: In bed by 7:30 and lights out at 8:00pm. While in bed, all they can do is read, and of course they prefer to read rather than having to turn the lights out early.

Parent tip 2: One hour of reading for every hour of TV or Video games.

My one daughter scored 39 percentile overall in 1st grade, 80 percentile in 2nd grade and 89 percentile in 3rd grade. I told her we are shooting for 93 or 94 percentile for next year. Have to work on those listening and vocabulary scores though.


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arlenec January 21, 2012


The test maker of the IOWA Test of Basic Skills, a test of achievement of learned content, along with any other test-maker, will tell you that the purpose of these standardized tests is not to compare one child to another but to give a school and a district an idea of how well they are doing with ALL children and, in particular, in comparison to other schools, other districts, and the nation. In other words, are they on the right track educationally? In today's world, parents demand to know the results of such tests but they are not given adequate information about the purpose of such tests and what they really mean. Unfortunately, in the last couple of decades, while the tests have not changed, their uses have morphed into ones never intended for them and for which there are no criteria. I remember taking 3 IQ tests when I was in public school in the 50s and 60s and, fortunately, parents didn't get the scores. Teachers told us that we didn't have to worry about how we did but to try our best. I actually enjoyed the times we took the tests because the harder questions were challenging. We took standard tests about the same number of times but with the same admonition, "Don't worry." Only when I was a senior did I get those results.

Standardized achievement tests are based not on the number of correct answers ( 60th perecentile doesn't mean the child got 60% of the questions correct), but on a comparison of how students do when looking at a large sampling of other children who've taken the test who are at the same grade level (so scoring in the 60th percentila means that that child scored better than 60% of those children who took the same test, across the nation.) The larger the sample, the greater the reliability of the scores. A test like the IOWA is expensive to create and to gather data in order to make the standardized results tables. So, children in 2012 could be being compared to students from a number of years ago. Another reason why they are not reliable predictors of future success.

Everyone thinks they've got the smartest children, or they should be the smartest. No one wants to be average or below average. But, at least 49% of kids MUST be below the 50th percentile if there are going to be another 50% above it.

Worrying about a score in the 85th percentile opposed to one that is in the 90th is silly. And, a child could score in the 45th percentile and still be a very good student, if every other child who took the same test answered a few more questions correctly--just a few.

Children can be very bright but do poorly on group-given standardized tests due to stress, fear, being tired, being bored, sick or hungry or having to go to the bathroom! A standardized test has no margin for such things. And, they are given no more frequently than once a year, otherwise, the test results are invalid. It is at best, a "snapshot," not even a portrait of a child's learning. It doesn't reflect the multitude of other things a child knows and has learned. And, then, there are those things one knows that simply cannot be tested. Persistence, patience, common sense...cannot be tested and are every bit as important in a child's school career, if not more so, as being able to recognize an isosceles triangle.

Children can become "test-wise" and may do significantly better than their equally well educated classmates who've not yet figured out standardized tests. There are tricks to taking standardized tests as proven by the SAT courses given to high school students every year to do better on the tests. They don't student content in those courses, they study test taking strategies. Equally educated students can score a very broad range of scores and it can most often be because some took study courses and other didn't.

The questions a parent should be asking are: Is my child learning the curriculum for his/her grade level? In what areas does my child excel? In what areas does he have greater difficulty? How can I help my child to become a more thoughtful learner--not just someone who knows lots of facts or one who has memorized lots of spelling words? Is my child impulsive and if so, what suggestions do you have for me to help him master his impulsivity? Does my child learn easily or does the teacher have to do considerable re-teaching for him/her? If so, in what areas and how can I help with this? There are so many better questions than Why did my child score in the 75th percentile and how can I improve that?

Standardized tests have a purpose. They give educators a broad picture of how they are doing in comparison to the nation. Perhaps the things they are teaching are not sufficiently rigorous. A district can learn this, too, and decide to enhance the curriculum and to make it more rigorous.

Young children should not even be aware of how they did on a standardized test. The pressure is so great these days that these babies don't need that stress added to their lives. Mis-reading standardized results, or reading into them something that doesn't exist can cause teachers and parents to make incorrect assumptions about individual children that can scar them for life.

BTW, some of the responders have combined standarized achievement tests with standardized IQ tests. Standardized achievement tests like the ITBS were created for the purposes I stated. It is IQ tests that were first developed in the early 1900s to categorize children and to put them in "appropriate" classes; ie. advanced classes vs. classes for mentally handicapped kids, even who should go to school and those who should work in the fields and factories. Then, they did go on to quickly categorize soldiers in both World Wars (and, even today, I think) into those who they thought they could predict would be officer material and those who weren't. However, they've never done a very good job at any of those things. We've all known people who are very successful, very smart, who scored very poorly on such tests. They aren't dumb, they are just not "test wise."

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mirluc06 April 24, 2012


My son is in kindergarten and this is his first iowa tests results. I was shocked!!!! For the whole year my son had the best progress reports and I always talk with his teacher and all of them had the same impression : very smart young boy and very hard worker and he is doing great. We are moving to a different state so I took my son for schools interviews and they did tests for him and they were impressed by his knowledge. He is a very well independant reader, math skills well developed in addition and subtraction. Even one of the schools he interviewed in that is very well know by high academic standards they gave him a first grade level exam and my son nailed it.
My son sleeps by 800 pm during school nights and he doesn't even like video games and we have no TV rule at home during weekdays.
He does all his homework and he is very independant while doing his work. I work with him on some extra curricular activities and books at home.
Me and my husband graduated from a French system, basically the progress report cards reflect exactly the student effort during the year and very similar to the standard tests results. So I was speechless when I got the results with such a big discrepancy from the report card for my son and the Iowa tests results..
I didn't say anything to my son because I think what he is doing is more than enough for a kindergartner...... but I sent an email to the teacher demanding an explanation and suggestions how this situation will not be repeated.

Please any ideas or suggestions to me are appreciated. I looked over some of the tests examples and my son have done much harder tests than these. I was expecting at least above average????
I am really frustrated and sad because I feel that I let down my son...... I am refusing to put any more pressure on him but I feel that this is ridiculous!!!!!,




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