Adventist Education News

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February 1, 2012

Riverside Publishing has updated the Iowa Test Program by:


In 2010, when the NAD Office of Education completed a five-year purchase agreement for all Adventist schools the purpose of the agreement was to: (a) continue to provide NAD-wide test data for on-going research, and (b) create the best pricing structure for standardized student testing. The agreement has achieved these goals. The agreement also anticipated the change to a new test with new norms in 2012. Integrated into the agreement was an amortized expense for new test booklets to alleviate the outlay of funds for new test booklets in one fiscal year. 

  • Renaming the norm-referenced standardized achievement tests previously known as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) to the Iowa Assessment®,
  • Aligning the new Iowa Assessment test content with the Common Core State Standards,
  • Reorganizing the subtests to support this alignment, 
  • Reformatting the new test to include engaging text and four-color graphics,
  • Establishing new norms for the new Iowa Assessment test, and by
  • Creating a new robust DataManager® to replace iRM® to facilitate the launch of a paperless testing and data collection environment

Recently, Riverside Publishing has recommended that we delay the transition to the new test program for one year. Instead of 2012, they propose that we begin administering the new Iowa Assessment in 2013. While some of us wish to stay on the leading edge of change we also recognize that the company’s recommendation must be considered carefully.

On January 31, 2012, members of the NAD K-12 Education Advisory representing every union across the NAD in the Iowa testing program listened a second time to the recommendation and rationale from Riverside Publishing for delaying a move to the new tests this year. In the end it was voted to DELAY IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NEW IOWA TESTING PROGRAM, Iowa Assessments®, ACROSS THE NAD UNTIL 2013.

There are several reasons why it is prudent to postpone the adoption of the new tests. In brief the reasons are summarized below. Together they require time for planning the transition and time to provide training. Note especially the final item in the list (below and above) as it was the “break point” in this decision.  In summary, the reasons for postponing are:

  • Alignment with the Common Core State Standards creates changes in content and format that should be analyzed and shared prior to adoption,
  • Utilization of new norms yields changes in student results and in data analysis that needs to be understood and shared prior to adoption, and
  • Establishment of a cloud-based digital platform for testing and data analysis with high security protocols and user-defined report options demands a careful and detailed plan for transition to ensure that all users will be effectively served, that uniform reporting requirements for Adventist schools are established, and that adequate time for training be provided before using the robust, complex DataManager® through which all new test data will be delivered paperless.   

More information and a developing plan for transition to the new Iowa Testing Program will be available on the NAD Education web-site in the near future.