Purposes of the ITED Batteries, Levels 15-17/18
The main purpose for using a standardized achievement battery is to gather information
that can be used to improve instruction. The Iowa Tests of Educational Development
do not purport to measure all the worthwhile objectives of the secondary curriculum;
the diversity of instructional methods and materials makes it impractical for any
test to attempt to do that. However, there are a number of generally held objectives
toward which all students are expected to progress as they go through high school,
regardless of the specific courses they take or the curriculum they may be following.
These skills are among the major goals of secondary education and include recognizing
the essentials of correct and effective writing, solving quantitative problems,
interpreting a wide variety of reading materials (both literary and informational),
critically analyzing discussions of social issues and reports on scientific matters,
recognizing sound methods of scientific inquiry, and using sources of information.
In many cases, these skills cut across the curriculum and are the province of not
just one department but of several.
The Iowa Tests of Educational Development look beyond the specific courses
schools use in developing these various competencies. The tests present a carefully
selected sample of tasks that require students to apply their knowledge and skills
in new situations. The current edition maintains the ITED's long history of emphasizing
critical thinking skills.
In gaining an understanding of students' educational development, teachers depend
on many sources of information, including class work, conferences, informal conversations,
and their own examinations of how well students have mastered the course content.
To these important sources, the data from the ITED add a unique and valuable perspective
in the evaluation of students' achievements. Certain features of the tests and the
manner in which they are constructed make their results particularly useful:
The tests emphasize commonly held, long-term educational objectives that cut across
the curriculum and stress inquiry and critical thinking skills.
The questions are constructed with unusual care and have undergone extensive pretesting
The tests provide statistically reliable scores based on a large normative population.
The scores permit comparisons among broad areas of achievement at each testing,
and they provide a basis for assessing student growth within each test area from
one testing to the next. Because the test norms provide descriptive information
not affected by atypical characteristics of the local school population, the faculty
can view students' achievements, as can students themselves, against a background
of a broad and representative student population -- a population that few teachers
or students ordinarily have the opportunity to observe firsthand.
These same characteristics enhance the value of the ITED for curriculum studies.
Schoolwide averages, especially when regularly obtained on all students within several
different grades, document trends relatively clearly. Because the normative data
for all tests are based on the same sample of schools, relative strengths and weaknesses
in the local program can be discerned.
Thus, the results from the ITED can be a uniquely useful complement to other sources
of information about students' educational development. Of course, a score alone
is just a number, as restricted or ambiguous in meaning as a word out of context.
How worthwhile the results will actually be to individual teachers depends to a
large extent on their familiarity with the test content, with the meaning of the
scores reported, and with the interpretations of the results that can appropriately
Familiarity with the test content can be achieved in various ways. Thus, teachers
and others who will be interpreting the results are encouraged to take these tests
to gain a greater understanding of the skills being measured by the tests.