Standardized Testing Meets the Internet

Liberty counselor Myra DeVries explains the new Iowa Assessments and the effects it will have on statewide testing.


Kaylee Deisbeck, Social Media Chair

Iowa standardized tests have been around for approximately 80 years and the University of Iowa has been a huge aid in creating these state-required tests. As technology advances, so does standardized testing. The University of Iowa has generated online testing called the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress(ISASP). The company Pearson will aid schools throughout Iowa in administering tests correctly and accurately completely online.

The Iowa City School District will test on April 16th and April 17th. Reading, language, writing, and mathematic tests will be distributed to grades third through eleventh. Science tests will only be taken by fifth, eighth, and eleventh graders.  

Guidance counselor Myra DeVries is one of the key administrators ensuring ISASP runs smoothly.

One of the key questions buzzing around the student body is: Why did the state decide to switch from paper to online testing?

“I think [the State] feel like kids are more in tune with technology and probably felt like shifting to a technology-based test would be better for students. The tests actually include lots of tools students can use like answer eliminator in order to help them,” said DeVries.

Tools like answer eliminator or notepad can benefit students testing experience in the same way a paper test would. Answer eliminator lets students cross out answers that they believe are false. Notepad allows students to take notes on information from the readings or problems online, but scratch paper will still be provided for testing.

On Thursday, March 14th, Liberty’s administration went through necessary training in order to distribute tests to students.

“I think teachers are feeling like how I feel, it’s so new,” said DeVries. “Hopefully they feel comforted in the fact that we are all in this newness together.”

In order for teachers and students to have a successful testing day, the administration has decided to do practice  runs of the test. This allows students to become comfortable with the new testing style. Students will have the chance to take practice tests with their core curricular teachers and also get a feel of what test day will look like.

“For example, if you are sitting in a tenth-grade science class, you will get some exposure on what the test and format will look like online,” said DeVries.

The testing schedule will be similar to what has been done previously for Iowa Assessments. Morning testing will occur each day. On the first day, students will be able to attend their first, second, third and fourth hour classes. On the second day, students will attend their fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh hour classes.

Testing will no longer be timed but instead will have a required time. Essentially, each test should take 60-120 minutes. The administration encourages students to take their time on each test to ensure the state can receive accurate data.

A chart provided by Person to show tests, grades taking each test, and recommended time.

“The students have to finish a test within the same school day,” said DeVries.

This means that students have an entire school day to finish a single test if needed. It gives students time to check over answers and be sure on each answer.

The administration has not seen any downsides with the tests, except that they worry students won’t bring their Chromebooks charged. It is important to charge it each night and bring your charger just in case.

“We are trying to be proactive in letting students know to bring their Chromebooks charged,” said DeVries.

The district is also confident that there will be no network glitches, internet problems, or site crashes. If it should happen, the tests might be pushed to another day or rescheduled entirely. This is a huge downside to technology-based tests.  

As testing day approaches, it is important to be prepared to ensure the state can recieve  the best data possible. A good night of sleep, a healthy breakfast, and a fully charged Chromebook can help students to be successful on each test.

For students wanting to take a practice test, use this link: