Iowa Test of Basic Skills Information

If your child goes to school in Iowa, he or she may take the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills every year from kindergarten to 8th grade. Read on to learn more about this test and how you can help your child be ready for it.

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How to Prepare for the Iowa Tests

Find Out Why They're Given

The Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) are standardized tests developed by the University of Iowa's College of Education. Previously administered to children in several states, these assessments are currently given in Iowa. Students in grades K-8 take the exam each year to help track their academic development so that measures can be taken by teachers and administrators to meet their needs. Depending upon your child's grade level, he or she can expect to be tested on a variety of subjects, including math and reading.

Know What Subjects Are Covered

What your child can expect to be on the exam depends upon his or her grade and ability level. It's a good idea to consult with your child's teachers to find out what test level your daughter or son will be taking.

Levels 5-8 of the ITBS are administered in early primary school. Levels five and six include sections on reading comprehension, listening, language and math. For levels seven and eight, there are also sections on social studies, science and information sources. Also, the math section for sections seven and eight is divided into mathematical concepts, computation and problem solving.

Levels 9-14 of the ITBS are administered to students between the 3rd and 8th grade. These tests include vocabulary, reading, spelling, capitalization, punctuation, word usage, mathematical concepts, problem solving, estimation, data analysis, mathematical computation, science, social studies, diagrams, maps and reference materials. Sections covering listening skills and analyzing words are exclusive to the level nine ITBS.

Prepare During the School Year

Once you know what your child will be tested on, you can steer him or her in the right direction through the course of the school year. If your child remains on top of his or her schoolwork and is in the habit of completing homework and studying for tests, when it comes time for the ITBS, preparing shouldn't be an ordeal. Additionally, you can find helpful online education standards-based worksheets, games and activities to provide your child with supplemental practice.

Take Practice Tests

While there are no free ITBS practice tests available online, your child may be able to take some at school. You can also ask your child's teacher to provide you with practice questions to administer at home.

Practice tests are available from other states that have similar assessments, such as the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills exam. A few commercial websites and book publishers also provide practice questions, but according to the University of Iowa's College of Education, it's wise to be wary of such resources and stick to non-profit practice resources.

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