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

The University of Iowa publishes the Iowa Tests, which are part of “The Iowa Testing Programs.” The two most commonly given Iowa Tests are the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) and the Iowa Assessments. They are achievement tests, not cognitive or IQ tests, assessing a child’s school learning. Despite the name, many states and private schools administer Iowa Tests. offers a variety of prep materials for the Iowa Tests.

What do people use the Iowa Tests for?

Schools frequently use the Iowa Assessments to assess students for admission into gifted and talented or accelerated learning programs. They combine Iowa Assessments with cognitive tests like NNAT or CogAT to assess a student’s achievements and potential. Additionally, schools may administer a creativity test such as the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking.

Even smart kids can struggle to show what they know on standardized tests like the Iowa Assessments. Preparing for these exams boosts confidence by increasing familiarity with the format and question types. members receive numerous benefits. They gain access to hundreds of practice questions tailored to the Iowa Assessments for each grade level. Additionally, they have a Student Success Team ready to assist with any questions. Moreover, members can enjoy 30+ Skill Building Academy games designed to enhance math, ELA, social studies, and science skills.

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

In the 2011-2012 school year, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt replaced the ITBS and Iowa Tests of Educational Development with the newly designed Iowa Assessments. This change aimed to align more closely with the Common Core State Standards.

Schools have flexibility in how they administer the Iowa Assessments, allowing for paper/pencil or online methods. It’s essential to check with your child’s school to determine their chosen testing approach.

While the Iowa Assessments align with Common Core, the ITBS, which goes up to 8th grade (level 14), does not. Although no updated ITBS versions have been released since around 2011, many school districts still use it.

Both the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and Iowa Assessments assess a student’s school learning. While the Iowa Assessments align with Common Core, the ITBS remains a popular admissions test for Gifted and Talented programs.

Iowa Test levels 5-8 are administered to Kindergarten through 2nd-grade students, while levels 9-14 are for 3rd to 8th-grade students. Each level comprises subtests, divided by content, and administered in sections.

History of the ITBS and Iowa Test

The ITBS was the original Iowa Achievement Test. Developed in 1935 and originally named the “Iowa Every Pupil Test of Basic Skills”.  The ITBS persists as a tracking tool. It remains relevant for over 80 years. It still serves as a valuable tool for monitoring and tracking student progress over time.

Several individuals participated in developing the Iowa Tests:

  • 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. The tests are sufficient to meet state homeschooling requirements.

What Material is on the Iowa Test and ITBS?

Levels 5-14 include written tests with some overlap between them.

  • Level 5 (K.1 – Grade 1.5): Assesses basic skills for students in the latter half of kindergarten and the first half of first grade. It covers letter and number recognition, early reading, and math.
  • Level 6 (K.7 – Grade 1.9): For those in the second half of kindergarten to just before second grade. It evaluates reading and math development. Introducing basic word problems and reading comprehension.
  • Level 7 (Grade 1.7 – 2.4): Targets students in the latter half of first grade and the first half of second grade. It assesses advanced reading comprehension, math problem-solving, and basic writing.
  • Level 8 (Grade 2.5 – 3.5): Geared towards the latter half of second grade up to the mid-third grade. It emphasizes complex math, reading, and introduces subjects like science and social studies.
  • Level 9 (Grade 3): Tailored for third graders, this test measures progress in reading, math, science, and social studies. Introducing complex concepts and problem-solving.
  • Level 10 (Grade 4): For fourth graders, it covers advanced topics in all subjects. With a focus on reasoning skills and applying knowledge.
  • Level 11 (Grade 5): Tests students on sophisticated content in all areas. Including complex reading, advanced math, and deeper questions in science and social studies.
  • Level 12 (Grade 6): Designed for sixth graders. It expects advanced skills in reading, math, and applying knowledge in science and social studies.
  • Level 13 (Grade 7): Measures mature reading, math, science, and social studies skills for seventh graders. Requiring complex and abstract application of knowledge.
  • Level 14 (Grade 8): For eighth graders, it evaluates abilities in comprehending complex texts. Solving advanced math problems, understanding, and applying concepts in science and social studies. Preparing students for high school.

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: Assesses word understanding, starting with picture vocabulary for younger students who choose a picture matching a word’s meaning. As they progress, they select a word for a sentence’s meaning.
  • Word Analysis Test: Evaluates phonics skills, involving identifying letter sounds and matching words starting with the same sound for younger students. Older students focus on syllables and word parts like prefixes and suffixes.
  • Reading Comprehension Test: Measures reading comprehension, beginning with listening to stories and answering questions for younger students. As they advance, they read passages and demonstrate text comprehension.
  • Listening Test: Assesses listening skills, requiring students to understand spoken language by listening to passages or instructions and answering questions or completing tasks based on what they heard.
  • Language Test: Evaluates grammar, usage, and writing mechanics understanding. Tasks include identifying correctly written sentences, matching words to complete sentences, and correcting grammatical errors.
  • Mathematics Test: Assesses mathematical concepts and problem-solving skills, from basic number recognition and counting for younger students to more complex operations and word problems as they progress.
  • Social Studies Test (Levels 7/8): Begins at Level 7, evaluating basic social studies comprehension.  This includes identifying community roles, understanding maps and globes, and recognizing historical events.
  • Science Test (Levels 7/8): Also introduced at Level 7, assesses basic science understanding. It involves tasks like identifying animals and their habitats, understanding matter properties, and recognizing scientific method steps
  • Computation Test (Levels 7/8): Introduced at Level 7, focuses on computation skills such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers.

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

  • Vocabulary Test: Assesses word understanding. Students choose the closest meaning based on context, evaluating vocabulary and inference skills.
  • Word Analysis (3rd grade, level 9 only): Evaluates phonics and word structure. It tests syllables, prefixes, suffixes, and word families.
  • Listening (3rd grade, level 9 only): Assesses comprehension as students listen to passages and answer questions based on what they heard.
  • Reading/Reading Comprehension: Measures text comprehension. Students read passages and answer questions assessing comprehension, inference, and more.
  • Spelling, Capitalization, Punctuation, Usage and Expression: Evaluates writing and grammar. It covers spelling, capitalization, punctuation, word usage, and expression.
  • Mathematics Concepts and Estimation, Problem Solving, Data Interpretation, Computation: Tests mathematical understanding and problem-solving skills.  This includes estimation, computation with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, data interpretation through charts and graphs, and word problems involving mathematical reasoning.
  • Social Studies: Assesses history, geography, government, and economics comprehension. Tasks may include map interpretation, identification of historical events, and understanding basic economic concepts.
  • Science: Measures life science, earth science, and physical science understanding, testing skills like identifying plant parts, understanding the water cycle, and recognizing the effects of forces on motion.
  • Sources of Information (Maps, Diagrams, Reference Materials): Evaluates effective use of different information sources, tasks may include map interpretation, diagram understanding, and utilization of table of contents, index, or glossary.

Want to give your children the resources they need to meet all the sections of the Iowa Assessment with confidence?

We have hundreds of questions for each grade level to help your child build comfort and familiarity for Test Day. Plus, you’ll also get access to the 30+ games in our Skill Building Academy to develop your child’s math, ELA, science and social studies skills.

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What does grades 1.7 or 1.9 mean?

The ITBS or the Iowa Assessments Test is a test that is written in levels and these levels overlap some grades. The chart shows this overlap and what grades fall into each level. Level 7 for example is written for grades 1 and 7 months to grade 2 and 4 months in the school year.

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.

Looking for more resources to help your child approach their Iowa Assessment with confidence? can help with:

  • Hundreds of questions that build the skills needed for confidence when taking the Iowa Assessments, for every grade level.
  • A customizable program based on your child’s grade level and upcoming tests, so you can target your child’s prep for maximum improvement.
  • Interactive practice with 30+ games from top educational publishers to strengthen your child’s overall skills like math, language arts, science, social studies and more.
  • A Student Success Team to help you if you need a little advice or if you get stuck.
  • Over 100,000 practice questions for the most popular tests for Pre-K to 8th Grade, including gifted and talented, private school admissions, state tests and more—all for one low price.
  • Parent resources to help you easily navigate your child’s testing process.

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Tell us about your experiences

38 Responses


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.

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:


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


What is word analysis?


For second grade level 8 Iowa test should we also be preparing on third grade iowa test materials since there is a overlap of grades in this level?



I think it’s great, but, I think you should add a level 12 test timing per section part, I would really like to know how long my son will be taking the test for.

Carol O'Bryan

I have twins whom my mother and are homeschooling using BJU curriculum. I called yesterday to set up a time to take the Iowa assessment. We are required (according to their rules) to send a copy of college diploma for BS or BA degree. Neither of us remember where that piece of paper is – in our records (We have moved several times and didn’t think it necessary to keep up with that piece a paper as the BS was not a terminal degree). We both have a M. S. degree; but BJU will not accept that diploma. Their response is, “it is your requirement.” I am attempting to prevent myself a hassle. Can I not do the documentation with a M.S. diploma? Thanks Can e-mail me or call me a response. I will be in meetings. a text would be fine 423-710-5412. Thank you!

these questions are fun! my kids say is perfect

this website is perfect .

god bless Karen Quinn


where are the 100 free questions


I homeschool my daughter. How can I get a copy of this test to administer it to my daughter?

Hi Kimberly –

Thank you for reaching out to us. Unfortunately, we do not know of a place where you can purchase the ITBS or Iowa Assessment test for your daughter, as we only provide test preparation for this and many other tests. I would recommend reaching out to the local school district to see if they can provide you with any information.

All the best,



I signed up with an account but cannot find where to get the free 100 practice questions. I want that sample before making any further commitment.

Hi Teresa –

Our 100 Free Questions are a great sampling from many of the tests we support. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to access the 100 Free Practice Questions (No purchase necessary):

Go to and log in using your email address and password.
Once you are logged in, click the “100 FREE QUESTIONS” button on the left-hand side of the page Or, you can follow this link: 100 Free Questions.
Once redirected, you will see a large, blue box that reads “FREE QUESTIONS.” Click the orange button that reads “UNLOCK NOW.”

We look forward to having you onboard with us!

Best regards,



Question? Do you know if tnere is a web site to submit a waiver for our child not to have to take the Iowa Test in person for this year due to COVID 19?

I would appreciate the help because I have been researching it but am unable to find a web site or answer.

Thank you in advance.

Hi Annamarie –

You would most likely need to reach out to your child’s school for this.

All the best,


Gwen Caro

Helpful and confidence building for first year teacher


I have y mail. Not g mail. Please send me the questions.

Hi Robert,

Our 100 Free Questions are a great sampling from many of the tests we support. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to access the 100 Free Practice Questions (No purchase necessary):

Go to and log in using your email address and password.
Once you are logged in, click the “100 FREE QUESTIONS” button on the left-hand side of the page Or, you can follow this link: 100 Free Questions.
Once redirected, you will see a large, blue box that reads “FREE QUESTIONS.” Click the orange button that reads “UNLOCK NOW.”

We look forward to having you onboard with us!

Best regards,



Can you tell me what math and reading subtests of the Iowa Assessments must be administered to identify gifted students in math and reading in the state of Ohio? Also, can you share with me where you found the information? Thank you.


Hello. My son was recently tested for GT. His composite IQ was 130 so he met the criteria for the cognitive portion. However, when he was given the ITBS for the achievement part, he didn’t make the scores. With that said, my son was held back from starting kindergarten an extra year since he has a summer birthday. We did not start him in kindergarten until he was 6 years 2 months old. With that said, when the ITBS scores were run, they were age based scores and not grade based scores. I know age based is what is typically used by school, but shouldn’t consideration be made when a student is not in the grade level that most students his age are. He is almost a full year older than most students in his class. Wouldn’t this affect his scores? How can we hold him accountable for curriculum he hasn’t been taught? Any advice is welcomed. Thank you!

Hi MG,

Please send us an email at and we will try and find more information about thissituation.


My test just came with a booklet and answer sheet. There are no “scripted directions” to read to the child. Do I just give them the booklet?


Please email us at so we can help walk you through the IOWA test information.

Jacqueline Tara

I need a copy of the Level 5 test for Kindergarten – Grade 1.5

My request is of an urgent matter. Thank you Tara Thomas


Please email us at and we can help walk you through the process of finding more resources for the IOWA and ITBS tests for all grades!


Hi – Do you know what a non-standard vs standard accommodation is on the IOWA? My school is telling me that my child who has a 504 with extended time should not have this accommodation because it would be considered a non-standard accommodation. He is in 7th grade and gifted with lower processing speed. I cannot find anything about a non standard accommodation or score – any feedback?

Hi Fran,

I would recommend contacting Riverside Insights, the test publisher.

All the best,



I graduated from St. Bernard’s Episcopal Boys Boarding School, Peapack/Gladstone, NJ (now Gill/St.Bernards day school, boys and girls, now VERY expensive) in 1954 and as one of the two top math students in the 1954 senior graduating class I was taken to Rutgers University and my math skills were tested and the grade I received was stated as follows:

“Sanborn, Your Percentile Score on the Iowa High School Content exam (achievement) was 90. Out of over 10,000 students taking the exam, 10% scored better than you and 89% scored lower than you. Fr. (Father) Penfield, Headmaster, 3/1/1954.”

What can you tell me about that ? Were the 10,000 students in one year, from all over the country, or was that a cumulative number “over the years”.

Is any such test still being done ?

Nick Sanborn
1937 – ????


What does this mean exactly?

Is this test meant to measure the level of process in for example: a public school fourth grader that takes this test while he’s in the middle of fourth grade.
Would taking this test provide accurate scores?

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.

Hi Analilia,

The Iowa Assessment is an outstanding test to gauge where your children are compared to public school children at the same grade level.

All the best,



May the students take part of the test? Only the English language related parts? by doing this, the overall result would not be affected?

Students typically take the entire ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills) test, as it is designed to assess their knowledge and skills across various subject areas, including English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. However, in certain situations, a school or district may decide to administer only specific portions of the test, such as the English Language Arts sections, to focus on particular areas of interest or to meet specific testing requirements.

If a student only takes the English Language Arts portion of the ITBS test, their overall score would not represent their performance across all subject areas, as they would not have completed the full test. In this case, the student’s results would only provide information about their performance in the English Language Arts sections, and it would not be possible to accurately compare their overall performance to that of students who took the complete ITBS test. As a reminder, we have thousands of practice questions for the ITBS, including the ELA portion of the exam.

Ultimately, decisions about administering specific portions of the ITBS test should be made by the school or district in accordance with their policies.

Norma Norma

I homeschool my two little boys ages 8 and 9. The 8 yr. old is moderately autistic and refuses to use a pencil to attempt to learn to write. However, he will answer questions orally and knows his alphabet and numbers. I was permitted to give him paper and pencil assessment tests last summer. It took 3 days to get him to sit still long enough to take the test to completion.

My 9 yr. old son has ADHD, He is also on the spectrum. He took his assessment tests through your program last summer as well.

Now, I need to schedule both boys for the assessment tests again this year. Please send me the schedule for the tests for this spring and summer. I am already approved to give their tests at home as I renewed by the deadline.

Thank you in advance for your time and aid.

Norma Jean Napier

Thank you for reaching out to us regarding the ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills) for your two sons. We understand the unique challenges that homeschooling children with special needs can present.

It’s great to hear that you’re already approved to administer the tests at home. This will allow you to create a comfortable testing environment tailored to your sons’ individual needs.

For your convenience, we have provided the available testing dates for the ITBS this spring and summer:

Spring Testing Dates:

May 15 – May 26, 2023
June 5 – June 16, 2023

Summer Testing Dates:

July 10 – July 21, 2023
August 7 – August 18, 2023


Do you offer IOWA testing practice for 9th grade?
Please let me know.

Currently our online test prep only goes through the end of 8th grade!

See if supports your child’s test by your school district. If you don't see your child's school district listed, check with us! We have practice for other tests as well.

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