On November 20th and 21st, the ninth through eleventh graders at the Gladbrook-Reinbeck High School took ITED's. After interviewing high school principal, Matthew Leeman, I received some more insight about what ITED's are. The acronym, ITED, stands for Iowa Test of Educational Development, and is intended to measure student abilities. These tests give an idea of how students would score on their ACT, perform in a post-secondary world, and also give an idea of what their overall knowledge is.
Who takes ITED's? These tests are required for students 9th-11th grade and the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) are required for students 3rd-8th grade. However, many schools begin testing as early as first grade. It's important to know why we take ITED's. Not only are these tests a fantastic reporting tool for students growth, but schools are also rewarded or penalized based on scores given in 4th, 8th, and 11th grade. Unfortunately, due to these scores, our middle school is currently on the "Watch List" and must create a plan for improving scores and current curriculum practices and submit that to the state.
What does our school do to increase ITED scores? Principal, Mr. Leeman says, "G-R never really focuses on teaching to the test as that's not what school curriculum is intended for." Our school is currently focused on aligning curriculum with the Iowa Core State Standards and Common Core within our own district and with the other Cedar Valley West schools (Dike-New Hartford, Aplington- Parkersburg, Grundy Center). With the tests being aligned with the Common Core State Standards, we should have to do nothing more than teach, or reteach those concepts that students may not understand. Having all of our students attaining the same concepts is key.
This upcoming fall, the school will be changing from ITED's to something called 'Smarter Balanced Assessments'. Not only will G-R be transferring to these tests, but the whole state of Iowa. ITED's will no longer be in place. The focus will also change from achieving certain scores to overall growth for each student- even 1% means growth! Before switching over, our school looks for an overall score of above the 40%. However, as I mentioned before, these new tests will have more focus on growth of students. Students work hard to achieve the highest scores they are capable of! Gladbrook-Reinbeck High School strives to offer the best educational experience for its students, so that these tests can reflect all the hard efforts of the staff and students!