The Iowa Testing Programs (ITP) has been part of the University of Iowa’s College of Education for over 75 years. From its inception, its mission has been to serve Iowa schools’ assessment needs by developing high-quality instruments and working with schools to promote valid use of results. ITP also pursues:
- research that improves the practice of educational measurement.
- design and development of assessments that provide information for a variety of purposes and audiences.
- outreach that delivers assessment results and supports use of assessment information by local, state, national, and international audiences.
ITP faculty and staff currently develop the Iowa Assessments, which are among the most widely respected, standardized achievement tests in the world. They also teach undergraduate and graduate courses in the Educational Measurement and Statistics Program, one of the premier programs of its kind, having trained hundreds of professionals across the country and around the world as leaders in the field.
ITP’s rich legacy includes many noteworthy contributions in the methods and technology of large-scale assessment. The high-speed optical scanners and processors used to score standardized evaluation instruments were ITP innovations. The test materials used to assemble the original forms of the GED®, NMSQT, and ACT were developed by ITP. These contributions spawned the growth and development of two major local corporations, Pearson and ACT, Inc.
ITP faculty and staff continue to conduct research on new testing initiatives and develop new approaches to assessment and reporting on student achievement. A new high school equivalency exam, HiSET™ is the result of a recent collaboration between ITP and Educational Testing Service. Research efforts are aimed, for example, at ensuring bias-free results, validity of technology-enhanced items, stability of measuring student growth across time, developing testing accommodations for students with special needs, software for computer-based testing, and technical support and scoring for local standards-based assessments in Iowa and the nation.