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Iowa Test and ITBS Test (Iowa Test of Basic Skills)

Iowa Test

What is the Iowa Test?

Iowa test logo
The Iowa Tests are achievement tests published by the University of Iowa and are part of the “The Iowa Testing Programs.” The two most commonly-given Iowa Tests are the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) and the Iowa Assessments. Both are achievement tests meaning they assess a child’s knowledge of what they have learned in school and are not cognitive or IQ tests. Despite the name, many states and private schools administer Iowa Tests. TestingMom.com offers a variety of prep materials for the Iowa Tests.

What are the Iowa Tests Used for?

The Iowa Assessments are frequently used to test for admissions into gifted and talented or accelerated learning programs. They are often used in conjunction with cognitive tests, like the NNAT ® or CogAT ®, to get a complete picture of a student’s accomplishments and potential. Schools may also give a creativity test, such as the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking ®. TestingMom.com offers a variety of prep materials for the Iowa Assessments and the other assessments listed here. Start preparing now with 100 free questions.

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What is the difference between the Iowa Assessments and ITBS Test?

The Iowa Assessments were released in 2012 as a replacement for the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills. The Iowa Assessments were created to sync with Common Core State Standards and, beginning at the 6th-grade level, assess college and career readiness.

The Iowa Assessments can be given via paper/pencil where the student will either answer in separate booklet or directly on the test. The test can also be administered online. The method of administration varies from school to school. Be sure to check with your child’s school to find out how they will be giving the test.

The Iowa Tests of Basic Skills are not aligned with Common Core and only go through the 8th grade (level 14). Even though there have been no updated versions of the ITBS released since approximately 2011, the test is still being published and is in use today by many school districts across the country.

Both the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and Iowa Assessments are designed to assess what a student has learned in school. The Iowa Assessments are aligned with Common Core standards, but the ITBS is not. Despite this, the ITBS is still frequently used as an admissions test for Gifted and Talented programs across the US.

Iowa Test levels 5-8 are administered to students from Kindergarten through 2nd grade, while levels 9-14 are given to students from 3rd to 8th grade. Each Iowa Test level consists of a series of subtests that are administered in sections by content.

History of the ITBS and Iowa Test

The ITBS was the original Iowa Achievement Test. It was developed in 1935 and was originally called “Iowa Every Pupil Test of Basic Skills.” Over 80 years later, more-recent editions of the ITBS are still being used today as a tool to monitor and track student progress over time.

There were several people involved in the development of the Iowa:

  • Everett Franklin Lindquist
  • Harry Greene
  • Ernest Horn
  • Maude McBroom
  • Herbert Spitzer

Homeschooling and the Iowa Assessments

Homeschooling families can also use the Iowa Assessments and the ITBS to confirm a child’s learning progress, since the test is sufficient to meet state homeschooling requirements.

What Material is on the Iowa Test and ITBS?

The tests are written in levels 5-14. You will see below that there is some overlap between the different levels of the test.

  • Level 5 covers K.1 – Grade 1.5
  • Level 6 covers K.7 – Grade 1.9
  • Level 7 covers Grade 1.7 – 2.4
  • Level 8 covers Grade 2.5 – 3.5
  • Level 9 covers grade 3
  • Level 10 covers grade 4
  • Level 11 covers grade 5
  • Level 12 covers grade 6
  • Level 13 covers grade 7
  • Level 14 covers grade 8

Each test level within the ITBS consists of a series of subtests administered in content sections. Sections in the ITBS test for kindergarten to 2nd grade (levels 5-8) include:

  • Vocabulary test
  • Word Analysis test
  • Reading Comprehension test
  • Listening test
  • Language test
  • Mathematics test
  • Social Studies test (Levels 7/8)
  • Science test (Levels 7/8)
  • Computation test (Levels 7/8)

Sections for 3rd grade to 8th grade (levels 9-14) include:

  • Vocabulary test
  • Word Analysis (3rd grade, level 9 only)
  • Listening (3rd grade, level 9 only)
  • Reading/ Reading Comprehension
  • Spelling, Capitalization, Punctuation, Usage and Expression
  • Mathematics Concepts and Estimation, Problem Solving, Data Interpretation, Computation
  • Social Studies
  • Science
  • Sources of Information (Maps, Diagrams, Reference Materials)

What Time of Year is Each Level Given and to What Grade Levels?




Test Timing Per Section – Level 5


TestNumber of ItemsApproximate Working Time (minutes)
Word Analysis2920
TOTALS – COMPLETE1462 hr. 30 min.


Test Timing Per Section – Level 6


TestNumber of ItemsApproximate Working Time (minutes)
Word Analysis3320
Reading (Part 1)1720
Reading (Part 2)1720
TOTALS – COMPLETE1872 hr. 40 min.


Test Timing Per Section – Level 7


TestNumber of ItemsApproximate Working Time (minutes)
Word Analysis3215
Reading (Part 1)1720
Reading (Part 2)1825
Math (Part 1)2625
Math (Part 2)1525
Social Studies2925
TOTALS – COMPLETE2784 hr. 10 min.
TOTALS – CORE2203 hr. 20 min.


Test Timing Per Section – Level 8


TestNumber of ItemsApproximate Working Time (minutes)
Word Analysis3315
Reading (Part 1)1820
Reading (Part 2)2025
Math (Part 1)2625
Math (Part 2)2025
Social Studies2925
TOTALS – COMPLETE2974 hr. 10 min.
TOTALS – CORE2393 hr. 20 min.


Tell Us Your Experiences

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4 Responses

RuthAnn says:

Hi, the father of a student who attends gymnastics school in Dallas has asked me (a retired certified teacher) to administer the ITBS to his daughter. Do you know if I’m able to do this? And how I would go about getting a copy of the test. The child is not homeschooled; she attends school w/ 1 teacher and 7 other gymnasts on the floor above the gymnasium where she practices 7 hours a day.

TestingMom.com says:

Hello – you would want to contact the publisher of the test to see if you are eligible to purchase a license of the test since you are a retired teacher. Here’s their contact page: https://backtoschool.hmhco.com/contact-us/

Deborah says:

Is the math section of 3rd grade ITBS based on common core?

Kim says:

What is word analysis?