What is the Iowa Test?

By | December 18, 2016

The Iowa Test of Basic Skills (also called the ITBS) tests the child’s expertise in the areas of math and reading. Below is a brief description of the tests included within the Iowa test:


The Vocabulary test measures reading vocabulary. For each question, a  pictorial or written stimulus is followed by a set of written responses. Approximately equal  numbers of nouns, verbs, and modifiers are tested at all levels.

Word Analysis

The questions on the Word Analysis test assess how well students can recognize letters and  letter‐sound relationships. Both pictures and words are used as stimuli  and response choices.


The Listening test contains short scenarios followed by comprehension questions, all presented orally. The test not only measures literal understanding, such as how well students follow directions or visualize objects, but also the ability to make inferences, understand concepts and sequences, and predict outcomes.

Reading Comprehension

The Reading test presents students with a variety of tasks, which progressively require  more independence in reading as the test level increases. The tasks in Levels 6‐8 include  using print, context, and picture cues to identify unfamiliar words; completing sentences  that tell about a picture by choosing a word for filling in a blank; and answering multiple choice  questions after reading a brief story. The questions associated with pictures and  stories often ask students to make inferences or to generalize about what they have read.


The teacher reads one or more sentences aloud while the students look for a mistake in either spelling, capitalization, punctuation, or usage.


Mathematics battery has three parts Math Concepts, Math Problem Solving, and Math Computation.

The Math Concepts test deals with numeration and  number systems, whole numbers, geometry, measurement, fractions, currency, and  number sentences.

The Math Problem Solving test has two parts. In the first, students solve  brief word problems; in the second part, they interpret information presented in graphs  and tables.

The Math Computation test presents addition and subtraction problems. One  section of it is timed so that information about students’ rates of work on computation can  be obtained.