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New test will better measure Idaho students’ reading skills

Associated Press

TWIN FALLS, Idaho – Idaho students in kindergarten through third grade are gearing up to take a new reading test designed to feel like a computer game.

The Times-News reported Friday that the Istation’s Indicators of Progress Early Reading test is replacing the old Idaho Reading Indicator.

The computer-based test will roll out statewide this fall, but some schools piloted the test last school year.

Studies show that students who aren’t reading at their grade level by third grade are more likely to struggle in middle school and high school.

Before fourth grade students are learning to read, but by fourth grade they should be reading to learn, said Teresa Jones, elementary programs director for the Twin Falls School District.

The new test measures performance in six areas of literacy while the old test only measures reading speed.

Students will take the test in September and again in May. Schools can also choose to test students monthly.

“We’re able to see growth and trends throughout the year,” said Janet Avery, curriculum director for the Jerome School District. “We’re able to monitor progress that way.”

The Twin Falls School District, which purchased the new reading test on its own, has been using Istation as an intervention and assessment tool, said Teresa Jones, elementary programs director for the district.

Twin Falls students have already taken the reading test and teachers saw results this week.

“Our testing went beautifully,” Jones said. “Overall, I got very positive reports that it went well.”

The Jerome School District was part of the group of districts that applied to be included in a state pilot program. This will be the second year Horizon and Jefferson elementary school students take the test.

Since the tests are computer-based they take less instructional time, Avery said. The old test required students to be pulled out of class one-by-one to test in person.

Before, testing use to take about a month. Now, students can complete the testing in four or five days.