Types of Assessment

  • Assessment is essential not only to guide the development of individual students but also to monitor and continuously improve the quality of our programs. There are different types of tests including:

     Formal Assessments Informal Assessments
    Classroom tests
    District tests
    Standardized test
    Anecdotal notes
    Student conferences
    Informal conversations

    Below is a list of state standardized tests and local assessments used by the District. To learn more about the type of exam and the goals of the assessment tool, click on the name and follow the link.

     Acronym Name
    CogAT Cognitive Abilities Test 
    DLM Dynamic Learning Maps
    F&P Fountas and Pinnell  
    IOWA Iowa Assessments
    IAR Illinois Assessment of Readiness
    MAP NWEA MAP Growth
    SAT SAT Suite of Assessments

    District 203 Local Assessments

    Assessment tests used by the district include the CogAT, IOWA and NWEA MAP Growth.

    Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) 

    Purpose: To provide a description of the student’s own cognitive resources for learning. CogAT measures general thinking and problem-solving skills and indicates how well the student uses these skills to solve verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal problems. It provides a picture of the student’s strength and weakness.

    Verbal Battery: The Verbal battery is comprised of three subtests (Verbal Analogies, Verbal Classification, and Sentence Completion) that appraise deductive and inductive reasoning skills as well as flexibility, fluency and adaptability in working with verbal materials and solving verbal problems. Successful performance on these tests requires that students have a variety of verbal strategies that they can use effectively. This cluster of verbal reasoning ability plays an important role in developing skills in reading comprehension, critical thinking, writing, and other types of verbal learning tasks.
    Nonverbal Battery: The Nonverbal battery presents the most novel problems to students. The items on these subtests (Figure Matrices, Paper Folding, and Figure Classification ) use only geometric shapes and figures that have little direct relationship to formal school instruction. The subtests require no reading and no outside fund of knowledge. To perform successfully, students must have well-developed strategies for dealing with novel materials. Students must be flexible in using these strategies and be accurate in implementing them. All three subtests appraise general inductive reasoning skills as well as flexibility and fluency in using and adapting cognitive strategies.
    Quantitative Battery: The Quantitative battery is comprised of three subtests (Number Analogies, Number Puzzles, and Number Series) that appraise deductive and inductive reasoning skills as well as flexibility and fluency in working with quantitative symbols and concepts. The equation building test also appraises the ability to organize, structure, and give meaning to an unordered set of numerals and mathematical symbols. Successful performance on these subtests requires that students have a variety of strategies for working with quantitative materials. The reasoning skills appraised by this battery are significantly related to high-level problem solving, not only in mathematics but also in other disciplines. 

    Fountas and Pinnell (F&P) 

    Purpose: The Fountas and Pinnell is used as a deeper diagnostic assessment for reading.  A teacher listens to a student reading one on one to identify the independent, instructional, and frustration levels of students.  The teacher can alternate between a fiction or non-fiction leveled book. Dual Language students take it in English for Kindergarten through grade 5 and Spanish for Kindergarten through grade 2.  The RIGBY is used for grades 3 through 5 in Spanish, which is a comparable assessment.

    IOWA Assessments 

    Purpose: To test the student’s ability in the areas of reading, vocabulary and math.

    The IOWA Assessments measure student achievement and growth. It gives you information on how your child performs against a national sample of students in the same grade.
    Components of the Test:
     Reading Administered in two parts, this test contains passages that vary in length from a few lines to a full page. Both literary passages (e.g., fiction, folk tales, essays, and poetry) and informational passages (e.g., expository science and social studies materials, procedural texts, and general nonfiction) are included. Many of the passages are excerpts from previously published works. A significant number of questions may require students to draw inferences or to generalize about what they have read.
     Vocabulary Each question presents a word in the context of a short phrase or sentence, and students select the answer that is the closest synonym for that word. Approximately equal numbers of nouns, verbs, and modifiers are included. Target words represent general vocabulary content rather than the specialized vocabulary used in various subject-matter areas.
     Math Administered in two parts.
    Students must demonstrate an understanding of Mathematics concepts, relationships, visual representations, and problem solving. The questions deal with number sense and operations, algebraic patterns and connections, data analysis, probability, statistics, geometry, and measurement.
    Reading the IOWA Assessments Results

    National Percentile Rank (NPR) – The NPR indicates the percent of students in the same grade who obtained a lower grade than your student. NPR scores from 75-99 are in the above average range. NPR scores from 1-24 are in the below average range. Scores from 25-74 are in the low average to high average range. 

    NWEA MAP Growth

    NWEA MAP Growth is an online, adaptive assessment designed to evaluate individual student reading and mathematics achievement and growth. This assessment is administered three times per year to students in kindergarten through eighth grade and is aligned with the Illinois English Language Arts and Mathematics Learning Standards. Additional information may be found at https://www.nwea.org/map-growth/.



    The SAT Suite of Assessments is an integrated system of tests that includes the SAT (for students in grades 11 and 12), the PSAT/NMSQT® and the PSAT™ 10 (for grades 9, 10 and 11). The tests measure the same skills and knowledge in a developmentally appropriate manner. These assessments work together to demonstrate college readiness over time so educators, students, and parents can monitor student progress. Their content reflects the types of meaningful, engaging, and challenging work that students find in the best middle and high school courses taught today. The SAT, the last test in the suite, is a globally recognized college admission test that is accepted at all U.S. colleges.

    More specifically, the SAT measures the skills and knowledge that research shows are the most important for success in college and career. It includes the following sections.
    • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing consists of a Reading Test and a Writing and Language Test, each composed of multiparagraph passages and multiple-choice questions. The Reading Test measures comprehension and reasoning skills and focuses on close reading of passages in a wide array of subject areas. The Writing and Language Test measures a range of skills including command of evidence, expression of ideas, and the use of standard English conventions in grammar and punctuation.
    • Mathematic includes multiple-choice and student produced response questions. It assesses skills in algebra, problem solving and data analysis, and manipulation of complex equations, geometry, and trigonometry. The SAT Essay requires students to read a high-quality source text and write an effective analysis of that text using evidence drawn from the source. It measures a range of skills in reading, analysis, and writing.

    Additional information regarding the SAT Suite of Assessments may be found at https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/about.