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Dear Parent,

This year our school will be administering the Riverside Insights, The Iowa Assessments Forms E and G achievement test. This assessment is published by Riverside Insights, and in partnership with ACSI, is being made available to Christian schools across the nation and around the globe.

Be assured that The Iowa Assessments from Riverside Insights are evidence-based, technically sound assessments that measure student achievement and growth against next generation learning standards for grades K—12. 

The Iowa Assessments are built to a carefully constructed test blueprint and content specifications focused on current best-in-class state, national, and international benchmarks and standards of educational achievement. It is designed to allow for comparisons and interpretations of growth and college and career readiness. It measures concepts, processes, and objectives taught throughout the nation in Reading, Written Expression, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. The Iowa Assessments includes additional subtests in Vocabulary, Spelling, Capitalization, Punctuation, Computation, Word Analysis, and Listening. This complete testing program provides teachers and parents with valuable and in-depth information in all subject areas.

Scores that are familiar to you from our previous testing program (Terra Nova) are included in The Iowa Assessments score reports: percentiles, standard scale scores, stanines, and grade equivalents. Diagnostic scores such as the Lexile and Quantile, along with skill and core domain alignment and cognitive data on three levels, are also included.

This assessment program also includes new services that will help our school make the most effective use of testing results. These enhancements include a quick turn-around time for receiving test results and professional development for our teachers.

Percentile Rank (PR)

The percentile is a score that shows the relative standing of a student compared to other students. For example, if a student received an 75 national percentile score on a specific subtest, she scored above 75% of students in a norming group that took the same subtest. This norming group has the same characteristics as the national population of students, which is why the score is known as a national percentile.

The Iowa Assessments is standardized so that the majority of students in the norming group score close to the 50th percentile and fewer students in the norming group score at the lower and upper ends of the range. This causes score intervals near the 50th percentile to be closer together, and, at the lower and upper ends of the range, farther apart (a bell-curve).


If that same student received a 62 ACSI Local Percentile score, she scored above 62% of all ACSI students that took the same subtest.

A student’s ACSI Local Percentile score is typically lower than her national percentile score because the ACSI student population’s percentile on all subtests is typically higher than the national percentile, which is 50. In other words, ACSI students score higher overall than the national population of students on The Iowa Assessments. When an individual student is compared with each of these groups, her score will appear lower when compared with the ACSI group and higher when compared with the national group.

Stanine (S)

The term “stanine” is a blended word that originates from the phrase, “standard of nine,” referring to a scale of nine units. A student’s stanine score is related to his percentile score but is more simplistic. Generally, a stanine of 1, 2, or 3 is considered in the “below average” range of achievement; 4, 5, or 6 is in the “average range”, and 7, 8, or 9 is in the “above average range”. Since the stanine is derived from the percentile rank, the two scores are often listed together in the same column, for example, 65-6.

Standard Score (SS)

The standard score describes a student’s location on an achievement continuum or scale that in most cases spans the complete range of Kindergarten through Grade 12. These scores can range in value from 80 to 400. In other words, we would expect to see a child’s standard score rise each year in a given content area.

Standard scores have no readily apparent meaning when viewed alone, but when you compare a student’s standard score with a class, grade level, or national group average, you get a picture of how that student is achieving compared to these groups. Standard score comparison charts are accessible in DataManager for the school to view.

Grade Equivalent (GE)

The grade equivalent (GE) provides basic development information: below grade level, grade level, and above grade level. The year and month listed on a GE score, e.g., 6.3 for a student in grade 3, is often misinterpreted as- the third-grade student is at sixth grade, third month achievement level. In reality, the score is suggesting that the average sixth grader in the third month would receive the same score if he/she took this third-grade subtest. Please do not misinterpret the GE this way as it is not a diagnostic score, rather, it is a snapshot of achievement level.

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