605.1 Progress Reports of Students

Series 600 - Educational Program
Student Progress Report & Conferences                         Code No. 605.1
Reporting Practices
Students will receive a progress report at the end of each grading period.  Students, who are doing poorly, and their parents, are notified prior to the end of the trimester in order to have an opportunity to improve their grade.  The board encourages the notification of students who have made marked improvement prior to the end of the trimester. 
Parent-teacher-student conferences at the high school are scheduled half way through each trimester.  Progress reports are issued at the P-T-S Conference.  Report cards will be issued at the close of each trimester.  The same procedures are followed for students in special education
The Elementary/Middle School schedules P-T-S Conference during the first and third nine weeks.  Progress reports are issued at the P-T-S Conference.  Report cards are issued at the conclusion of each semester.  The same procedures are followed for students in special education.
Parents, teachers, or principals may request a conference for students in grades kindergarten through twelve in addition to the scheduled conference time.  Parents and students are encouraged to discuss the student's progress or other matters with the student's teacher.  
Adoption: 7-17-89
Review: 4-11-94   5-10-99     03-22-10 9-14-15  2-11-19
Revision:10-14-99   03-22-10  2-11-19
Cross References: Code 605.2
Legal References:  HF 743

605.2 Instructional Materials Selection

Series 600 - Educational Program
Instructional Materials Selection                   Code No. 605.2
The board has sole discretion to approve instructional materials for the school district.  This authority is delegated to licensed employees to determine which instructional materials, other than textbooks, will be utilized by and purchased by the school district.
In reviewing current instructional materials for continued use and in selecting additional instructional materials, licensed employees will consider the current and future needs of the school district as well as the changes and the trends in education and society.  It is the responsibility of the superintendent to report to the board the action taken by licensed employees.
In the case of textbooks, the board will make the final decision after receiving a recommendation from the superintendent.  The criteria stated above for selection of other instructional materials will apply to the selection of textbooks.  The superintendent may develop another means for the selection of textbooks.  Textbooks are reviewed as needed.
Education materials given to the school district must meet the criteria established above.  The gift must be received in compliance with board policy.
Adoption: 7-17-89
Review:  4-11-94   5-10-99    9-27-07     03-22-10 9-14-15
Cross References: 602.11 Curriculum Development  605.2 Instructional Materials
Revision  12-13-07                                  
Legal References:    Iowa Code §§ 279.8; 280.3, .14; 301 (2007).  281 I.A.C. 12.3(12).

605.2-R1 Selection of Instructional Materials

Series 600 - Educational Program
Selection of Instructional Materials                 Code No. 605.2-R1
I. Responsibility for Selection of Instructional Materials
  1. The board is responsible for matters relating to the operation of the Forest City Community School District.
  2. The responsibility for the selection of instructional materials is delegated to the professionally trained and licensed employees of the school system.  For the purpose of this rule the term "instructional materials" includes printed and multimedia materials (not equipment), whether considered text materials or library materials.  The board retains the final authority for the approval of textbooks.
  3. The responsibility for coordinating the selection of most instructional materials and making the recommendation for the purchase rests with licensed employees.
  4. Responsibility for coordinating the selection of text materials for distribution to classes will rest with the licensed employees and administration.  For the purpose of this rule the term 'text materials' includes textbooks and other printed and non-printed material provided in multiple copies for use of a total class or major segment of a class.
  5. If the board appoints an ad hoc committee to make recommendations on the selection of instructional materials, the ad hoc committee is formed and appointed in compliance with the board policy on Ad Hoc Committees.
  1. The superintendent will inform the committee as to their role and responsibility in the process.
  2. The following statement is given to the ad hoc committee members:
Bear in mind the principles of the freedom to learn and to read and base your decision on these broad principles rather than on defense of individual materials.  Freedom of inquiry is vital to education in a democracy.
Study thoroughly all materials referred to you and read available reviews.  The general acceptance of the materials should be checked by consulting standard evaluation aids and local holdings in other schools.
Passages or parts should not be pulled out of context.  The values and faults should be weighed against each other and the opinions based on the material as a whole.
Your report, presenting both majority and minority opinions, will be presented by the principal to the complainant at the conclusion of our discussion of the questioned material.
II. Material selected for use in libraries and classrooms will meet the following guidelines:
  1. Religion - Material will represent the major religions in a factual, unbiased manner.  The primary source material of the major religions is considered appropriate, but material which advocates rather than informs, or is designed to sway reader judgment regarding religion, will not be included in the school libraries or classrooms.
  2. Racism - Material will present a diversity of race, custom, culture, and belief as a positive aspect of the nation's heritage and give candid treatment to unresolved intercultural problems, including those which involve prejudice, discrimination, and the undesirable consequences of withholding rights, freedom, or respect of an individual.
  3. Sexism - Material will reflect sensitivity to the needs, rights, traits and aspirations of men and women without preference or bias.
  4. Age - Material will recognize the diverse contributions of various age groups and portray the continuing contributions of maturing members of society.
  5. Ideology - Material will present basic primary and factual information on an ideology or philosophy of government which exerts or has exerted a strong force, either favorably or unfavorably, over civilization or society, past or present.  This material will not be selected with the intention to sway reader judgment and is related to the maturity level of the intended audience.
  6. Profanity and Sex - Material is subjected to a test of literary merit and reality by the teacher-librarians and licensed staff who will take into consideration their reading of public and community standards of morality.
  7. Controversial issues materials will be directed toward maintaining a balanced collection representing various views.
The selection decision should be made on the basis of whether the material presents an accurate representation of society and culture, whether the circumstances depicted are realistically portrayed, or whether the material has literary or social value when the material is viewed as a whole.
These guidelines will not be construed in such a manner as to preclude materials which accurately represent the customs, morals, manners, culture, or society of a different time or a different place.
III. Procedure for Selection
  1. Material purchased for libraries and classrooms is recommended for purchase by licensed employees, in consultation with administrative staff, school library staff, students or an ad hoc committee as appointed by the board.  The material recommended for purchase is approved by the appropriate building administrator.


  1. The materials selected will support stated objectives and goals of the school district.  Specifically, the goals are:
  1. To acquire materials and provide service consistent with the demands of the curriculum;
  2. To develop students' skills and resourcefulness in the use of libraries and learning resources;
  3. To effectively guide and counsel students in the selection and use of materials and libraries
  4. To foster in students a wide range of significant interests;
  5. To provide opportunities for aesthetic experiences and development of an appreciation of the fine arts;
  6. To provide materials to motivate students to examine their own attitudes and behaviors and to comprehend their own duties and responsibilities as citizens in a pluralistic democracy;
  7. To encourage life-long education through the use of the library; and,
  8. To work cooperatively and constructively with the instructional and administrative staff in the school.
  1. Materials selected is consistent with stated principles of selection.  These principles are:
  1. To select material, within established standards, which will meet the goals and objectives of the school district;
  2. To consider the educational characteristics of the community in the selection of materials within a given category;
  3. To present the sexual, racial, religious and ethnic groups in the community by:


  1. Portraying people, both men and women, adults and children, whatever their ethnic, religious or social class identity, as human and recognizable, displaying a familiar range of emotions, both negative and positive.
  2. Placing no constraints on individual aspirations and opportunity.
  3. Giving comprehensive, accurate, and balanced representation to minority groups and women - in art and science, history and literature, and in all other fields of life and culture.
  4. Providing abundant recognition of minority groups and women by showing them frequently in positions of leadership and authority.
  1. To intelligently, quickly, and effectively anticipate and meet needs through awareness of subjects of local, national and international interest and significance; and,
  2. To strive for impartiality in the selection process.
  1. Gifts of library or instructional materials may be accepted if the gift meets existing criteria for library and instructional materials.  The acceptance and placement of such gifts is within the discretion of the board.
  2. In order to provide a current, highly usable collection of materials, teacher-librarians will ensure constant and continuing renewal of the collection, not only the addition of up-to-date materials, but by the judicious elimination of materials which no longer meet school district needs or find use.  The process of weeding instructional materials will be done according to established and accepted standards for determining the relevance and value of materials in a given context.

605.3 Instructional Materials Inspection

Series 600 - Educational Program
Instructional Materials Inspection     Code No. 605.3
Parents and other members of the school district community may view the instructional materials used by the students.  All instructional materials, including teacher's manuals, films, tapes or other supplementary material which will be used in connection with any survey, analysis, or evaluation as part of any federally funded programs must be available for inspection by parents.  
The instructional materials must be viewed on school district premises.  Copies may be obtained according to board policy.
It is the responsibility of the superintendent to develop administrative regulations regarding the inspection of instructional materials.
Adoption: 12-13-07                  
Review: 03-22-10 9-14-15
Cross References:602.11 Curriculum Development; 605.2 Instructional Materials; 805.1 Public Examination of School District Records
Legal Reference: Goals 2000:  Educate America Act, Pub. L. No. 103-227, 108 Stat. 125 (1994). Iowa Code §§ 279.8; 280.3, .14; 301 (2007).   281 I.A.C. 12.3(12)

605.4 Objection to Instructional Materials


Series 600 - Educational Program
Objection to Instructional Materials     Code No. 605.4
Members of the school district community may object to the instructional materials utilized in the school district and ask for their use to be reconsidered.
It is the responsibility of the superintendent, in conjunction with the administration, to develop regulations for reconsideration of instructional materials.
Adoption: 12-13-07
Review:  03-22-10 9-14-15
Revision: 602.11 Curriculum Development 605.2 Instructional Materials
Cross References:205.15 Public Participation in Board Meetings
Legal Reference: Iowa Code §§ 279.8; 280.3, .14; 301 (2007).  281 I.A.C. 12.3(12)

605.4-E1 Instructions to the Reconsideration Committee

Series 600 – Educational Program\
Code No. 605.4-E1
The policy of this school district related to selection of learning materials states that any member of the school district community may formally challenge instructional materials used in the district's education program.  This policy allows those persons in the school and the community who are not directly involved in the selection of materials to make their own opinions known.  The task of the reconsideration committee is to provide an open forum for discussion of challenged materials and to make an informed recommendation on the challenge.  The meetings of the committee may be subject to the open meetings law.
The most critical component of the reconsideration process is the establishment and maintenance of the committee's credibility in the community.  For this purpose, the committee is composed of community members.  The community should not, therefore, infer that the committee is biased or is obligated to uphold prior professional decisions.  For this same reason, a community member will be selected to chair the committee.
The reconsideration process, the task of this committee, is just one part of the selection continuum.  Material is purchased to meet a need.  It is reviewed and examined, if possible, prior to purchase.  It is periodically re-evaluated through updating, discarding, or re-examination.  The committee must be ready to acknowledge that an error in selection may have been made despite this process.  Librarians and school employees regularly read great numbers of reviews in the selection process, and occasional errors are possible.
In reconsidering challenged materials, the role of the committee, and particularly the chairperson, is to produce a climate for disagreement.  The committee should begin by finding items of agreement, keeping in mind that the larger the group participating, the greater the amount of information available and, therefore, the greater the number of possible approaches to the problem.
If the complainant chooses, the complainant may make an oral presentation to the committee to expand and elaborate on the complaint.  The committee will listen to the complainant, to those with special knowledge, and any other interested persons.  In these discussions, the committee should be aware of relevant social pressures which are affecting the situation.  Individuals who may try to dominate or impose a decision must not be allowed to do so.  Minority viewpoints expressed by groups or individuals must be heard, and observers must be made to feel welcome.  It is important that the committee create a calm, nonvolatile environment in which to deal with a potentially volatile situation.  To this end, the complainant will be kept informed of the progress of the complaint.
The committee will listen to the views of all interested persons before making recommendations.  In deliberating its recommendation, the committee should remember that the school system must be responsive to the needs, tastes, and opinions of the community it serves.  Therefore, the committee must distinguish between broad community sentiment and attempts to impose personal standards.  The deliberations should concentrate on the appropriateness of the material.  The question to be answered by the committee is, "Is the material appropriate for its designated audience at this time?"
The committee's final recommendation will be (1) to remove the challenged material from the total school environment, (2) to take no removal action, or (3) to agree on a limitation of the educational use of the materials.
The committee chairperson will instruct the secretary to convey the committee's recommendation to the office of the superintendent.  The recommendation should detail the rationale on which it was based.  A letter will be sent to the complainant outlining the outcome.

605.4-E2 Reconsideration of Instructional Materials

Series 600 – Educational Program\
Code No. 605.4-E2
Request for re-evaluation of printed or multimedia material to be submitted to the superintendent.
REVIEW INITIATED BY:                                                               DATE:
City/State                                       Zip Code                     Telephone                          
School(s) in which item is used                                                                                      
Relationship to school (parent, student, citizen, etc.)
Author                                Hardcover                         Paperback                      Other                
Publisher (if known)                                                                                                                    
Date of Publication                                                                
Producer (if known)                                                                                                                      
Type of material (filmstrip, motion picture, etc.)
Self Group                 or             Organization
Name of group                                                                                                              
Address of Group                                                                                                         
1. What brought this item to your attention?
2. To what in the item do you object?  (please be specific; cite pages, or frames, etc.)
3. In your opinion, what harmful effects upon students might result from use of this item?
4. Do you perceive any instructional value in the use of this item?
5. Did you review the entire item?  If not, what sections did you review?
6. Should the opinion of any additional experts in the field be considered?
                           yes                          no
If yes, please list specific suggestions:
7. To replace this item, do you recommend other material which you consider to be of equal or superior quality for the purpose intended?
8. Do you wish to make an oral presentation to the Review Committee?


  1.   Please contact the Superintendent
  1. Please be prepared at this time to indicate the approximate length of time your presentation will require.  Although this is no guarantee that you'll be allowed to present to the committee or that you will get your requested amount of time.
Dated                                   Signature                                                                                          

605.4-E3 Sample Letter to individual Challenging Instructional Materials

Series 600 – Educational Program
Code No. 605.4-E3
We recognize your concern about the use of                                                      in our school district.  The school district has developed procedures for selection of instructional materials but realizes that not everyone will agree with every selection made.
To help you understand the selection process, we are sending copies of the school districts:
1. Instructional goals and objectives,
2. Instructional Materials Selection policy statement, and,
3. Procedure for reconsideration of instructional materials.
If you are still concerned after you review this material, please complete the Reconsideration Request Form and return it to me.  You may be assured of prompt attention to your request.  If I have not heard from you within one week, we will assume you no longer wish to file a formal complaint.

605.4-R1 Reconsideration of Instructional Materials


Series 600 - Educational Program
Reconsideration of Instructional Materials Regulation Code No. 605.4-R1
  1. A member of the school district community may raise an objection to instructional materials used in the school district's education program despite the fact that the individuals selecting such material were duly qualified to make the selection and followed the proper procedure and observed the criteria for selecting such material.
  1. The school official or employee receiving a complaint regarding instructional materials will try to resolve the issue informally.  The materials generally will remain in use pending the outcome of the reconsideration procedure.
  1. The school official or employee initially receiving a complaint will explain to the individual the board's selection procedure, criteria to be met by the instructional materials, and qualifications of those persons selecting the material.
  2. The school official or employee initially receiving a complaint will explain to the individual the role of the objected material in the education program, its intended educational purpose, and additional information regarding its use.  In the alternative, the employee may refer the individual to the teacher-librarian who can identify and explain the use of the material.
  1. The employee receiving the initial complaint will advise the building principal of the initial contact no later than the end of the school day following the discussion with the individual, whether or not the individual has been satisfied by the initial contact.  A written record of the contact is maintained by the principal in charge of the attendance center.  Each building principal shall inform employees of their obligation to report complaints.
  2. In the event the individual making an objection to instructional materials is not satisfied with the initial explanation, the individual is referred to the principal or to the teacher-librarian of the attendance center.  If, after consultation with the principal or teacher-librarian, the individual desires to file a formal complaint, the principal or teacher-librarian will assist in filling out a Reconsideration Request Form in full and filing it with the superintendent.
  1. Request for Reconsideration
  1. A member of the school district community may formally challenge instructional materials on the basis of appropriateness used in the school district's education program.  This procedure is for the purpose of considering the opinions of those persons in the school district and the community who are not directly involved in the selection process.
  2. Each attendance center and the school district's central administrative office will keep on hand and make available Reconsideration Request Forms.  Formal objections to instructional materials must be made on this form.
  3. The individual will state the specific reason the instructional material is being challenged.  The Reconsideration Request Form is signed by the individual and filed with the superintendent.  
  4. The superintendent will promptly file the objection with the reconsideration committee for re-evaluation.
  5. Generally, access to challenged instructional material will not be restricted during the reconsideration process.  However, in unusual circumstances, the instructional material may be removed temporarily by following the provisions of Section B.6.d. of this rule.
  6. The Reconsideration Committee
  1. The reconsideration committee is made up of eight members.
  • One licensed employee designated annually, as needed, by the superintendent.
  • One teacher-librarian designated annually by the superintendent.
  • One member of the administrative team designated annually by the superintendent.
  • Three members of the community appointed annually, as needed, by the board.
  • Two high school students, selected annually by the high school principal.
  1. The committee will select their chairperson and secretary.
  2. The committee will meet at the request of the superintendent.
  3. Special meetings may be called by the board to consider temporary removal of materials in unusual circumstances.  A recommendation for temporary removal will require a two-thirds vote of the committee.
  4. Notice of committee meetings is made public through appropriate publications and other communications methods.
  5. The committee will receive the completed Reconsideration Request Form from the superintendent.
  6. The committee will determine its agenda for the first meeting which may include the following:
  • Distribution of copies of the completed Reconsideration Request Form.
  • An opportunity for the individual or a group spokesperson to talk about or expand on the Reconsideration Request Form.
  • Distribution of reputable, professionally prepared reviews of the challenged instructional material if available.
  • Distribution of copies of the challenged instructional material as available.
  1. The committee may review the selection process for the challenged instructional material and may, to its satisfaction, determine that the challenge is without merit and dismiss the challenge.  The committee will notify the individual and the superintendent of its action.
  2. At a subsequent meeting, if held, interested persons, including the individual filing the challenge, may have the opportunity to share their views.  The committee may request that individuals with special knowledge be present to give information to the committee.
  3. The individual filing the challenge is kept informed by the reconsideration committee secretary on the status of the Reconsideration Request Form throughout the reconsideration process.  The individual filing the challenge and known interested parties is given appropriate notice of meetings.
  4. At the second or a subsequent meeting the committee will make its final recommendation.  The committee's final recommendation may be to take no removal action, to remove the challenged material from the school environment, or to limit the educational use of the challenged material.  The sole criterion for the final recommendation is the appropriateness of the material for its intended educational use.  The written final recommendation and its justification are forwarded to the board, the individual and the appropriate attendance centers.  The superintendent my also make a recommendation but if so, it should be independent from the committee’s.
Following the superintendent's decision with respect to the committee's recommendation, the individual or the chairperson of the reconsideration committee may appeal the decision to the board for review.  Such appeal must be presented to the superintendent in writing within five days following the announcement of the superintendent's decision.  The board will promptly determine whether to hear the appeal.  
  1. A recommendation to sustain a challenge will not be interpreted as a judgment of irresponsibility on the part of the individuals involved in the original selection or use of the material.
  2. Requests to reconsider materials which have previously been reconsidered by the committee must receive approval of two-thirds of the committee members before the materials will again be reconsidered.
  3. If necessary or appropriate in the judgment of the committee, the committee may appoint a subcommittee of members or nonmembers to consolidate challenges and to make recommendations to the full committee.  The composition of this subcommittee will approximate the representation of the full committee.
  4. Committee members directly associated with the selection, use, or challenger of the challenged material are excused from the committee during the deliberation of the challenged instructional materials.  The superintendent may appoint a temporary replacement for the excused committee member, but the replacement must be of the same general qualifications as the member excused.
  5. Persons dissatisfied with the decision of the board may appeal to the Iowa Board of Education pursuant to state law.

605.5 Testing Program

Series 600 - Educational Program
Testing Program                               Code No. 605.5
A comprehensive testing program is established and maintained to evaluate the education program of the school district and to assist in providing guidance or counseling services to students and their families.
  • No student is required, as part of a program funded by the United States Department of Education (USDE), to submit, without prior written consent from the student's parent/guardian, to surveys, analysis or evaluation which reveals information concerning:political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent;
  • mental or psychological problems of the student or the student's family;
  • sex behavior or attitudes;
  • illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating or demeaning behavior;
  • critical appraisals of other individuals with whom students have close family-like relationships;
  • legally recognized, privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians and ministers;
  • religious practices, affiliations or beliefs of the student or student’s parent; or
  • income, (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program).
It is the responsibility of the superintendent, in conjunction with the principal, to develop administrative regulations regarding this policy.
It is the responsibility of the board to review and approve the evaluation and testing program.
Adoption:  2-13-03
Review:     1-13-05   03-22-10 9-14-15
Revision:   2-10-05   10-12-06
Cross Reference: 505 Student Scholastic Achievement; 506 Student Records;
607.2 Student Health Services
Legal Reference: No Child Left Behind, Title II, Sec. 1061, P.L. 107-110 (2002).  Goals 2000:  Educate America Act, Pub. L. No. 103-227, 108 Stat. 125 (1994).   20 U.S.C. § 1232h (1994).  Iowa Code §§ 280.3; 256B; 282.1, .3, .6 (2001).  281 I.A.C. 12.5(13), .5(21).

605.6 Accountability Test integrity/Test Preparation

Series 600 - Educational Program 
Accountability Test Integrity / Test Preparation Code No. 605.6
The Forest City Community School District is committed to ensuring the integrity of the information obtained from the use of educational assessments.  This policy is intended to apply to assessments in particular; to meet No Child Left Behind Act and the Annual Progress Report. 
Appointment of District Test Coordinator:  The District Test Coordinator will be appointed by the Superintendent.  The District Test Coordinator is responsible for storing materials from Iowa Testing Programs in a secure area with restricted access both prior to and after the testing period. 
Test Preparation:  As a function of educating students, staff may prepare students for assessments by providing instruction in the content areas to be assessed. Staff may also prepare students for assessments by teaching general test-taking skills that are applicable to any test or test format. 
Administration of Tests:  In the administration of standardized tests, it is a violation of test security to do any of the following: 
  1. Provide inappropriate test preparation such as any of the following: 


  1. Copy, reproduce, or use in any manner any portion of any secure test booklet, for any reason.
  2. Share an actual test instrument in any form.


  1. Deviate from the test administration procedures specified in the test examiner's manual.
  2. Provide inappropriate assistance to students during the test administration. 
  3. Make test answers available to students. 
  4. Change or fill in answers on student answer documents. 
  5. Provide inaccurate data on student answer documents. 
  6. Engage in any practice to artificially raise student scores without actually improving underlying student achievement. 
  7. Participate in, direct, aid, counsel, assist, encourage, or fail to report any of the acts prohibited in this policy. 
After testing is completed, test booklets are to be returned according to procedures established by the District Test Coordinator. 
Consequences of Policy Violations: If a violation of this policy occurs, as determined by the Superintendent following an investigation of allegations of irregularities, the Superintendent shall determine whether the integrity of the testing program has been jeopardized, whether some or all of the test results are invalidated, and whether a teacher or administrator has violated the Code of Ethics of the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners as found at 282-Iowa Administrative Code chapter 25. 
Reports of students cheating on assessments shall be submitted to the building principal for investigation and disciplinary procedures.  A staff member found to have committed testing irregularities shall be subject to discipline in accordance with law and Board policy. If the staff member is a licensee of the Board of Educational
Examiners, the Superintendent shall make a timely report to that Board. 
If the Superintendent believes that assessment results are invalid, the Superintendent shall make a timely report to the Iowa Department of Education. 
Adoption: 12-08-05
Review: 02-12-09   03-22-10 9-14-15
Revision:  03-09-09
Legal References:

605.6-R1 Testing procedures

Testing Procedures Code No. 605.6 R1
A.   Acquiring and Storing Testing Materials 
The Forest City Community School District Director of Testing will acquire and store all testing material. 
  1. For what purposes are school districts authorized to obtain testing materials from Iowa Testing Programs? 

Test booklets are needed for annual testing as well as for testing new students who arrive after annual testing is completed. Some students may be tested for special programming selection (e.g., TAG program) during the year.  Occasionally test booklets are a helpful reference when members of the teaching staff are interpreting information from selected score reports or conducting alignment-checking activities. Test booklets should be provided to individual staff members only when they have a professional need to use the materials.  In addition, tests should not be given to or shown to parents who request to see the tests, except under direct supervision of a district administrator. Test booklets should not be loaned to individuals outside the district staff. 

  1. How should testing materials be stored within the district prior to and during testing
When materials arrive from Iowa Testing Programs for annual testing, they should be stored in a secure area, according to local policy requirements, with access restricted. Procedures will need to be formulated for each building regarding the distribution and collection of materials prior to and during testing. Test booklets should not be readily accessible to teachers, other district staff members, or students other than during actual test administration sessions. 
  1. How should testing materials and test results that remain in the district be stored once annual testing is completed? 
Provision should be made for storing materials that might be retained once annual testing is completed and testing materials have been returned to Iowa Testing Programs. Tests retained for late testing, professional development work, or use with score reports need to be stored securely with limited access. (See section D below on accessing materials after testing.) Policy or rules should indicate that those who provide unauthorized access to materials are themselves in violation of district policy. 
B. Test Preparation and Practice Activities 
Test preparation incorporates a broad array of activities that should be intended to prepare students to exhibit their true achievement when they take an assessment. These kinds of activities should represent a good use of instructional time.  Some other activities may be completely inappropriate, especially those that are designed to boost test scores without a corresponding lasting increase in actual student achievement. The distortions form "falsified" records of student achievement, which can lead to erroneous decisions about students and schools. 
  1. What specific activities are appropriate to use with students in preparation for testing? 


  1. Provide general instruction on the objectives of content area, in alignment with the district curriculum. 
  2. Teach test-taking skills. 
  3. Provide instruction on a list of objectives created by a commercial organization, where the objectives may have been selected because they are measured by a variety of standardized tests (including the one to be given). 
  4. Provide instruction specifically on objectives that match those on the test to be given and use practice exercises that are in the same format as the question on the test. 
The appropriateness of any proposed practice should meet either of the two following standards: 
  • It will promote the learning, retention, and application of important knowledge and content skills that students are expected to learn. 
  • It will decrease the chance that students will score lower on the test than they should due to inadequate test-taking skills or limited familiarity with the item formats used on the test. 
Activities that do not meet one or the other of these criteria are more likely to be unethical, to promote only temporary learning, or to waste instructional time. 
  1. What specific activities are prohibited from use with students in preparation for testing? 
  1. Provide practice on exactly the same test, either form that is to be given. 
Test preparation should be an integral part of the regular instructional program.  In that way, instructional activities that support test preparation likely would occur throughout the year. 
  1. Should district staff be required to obtain approval in advance of using test preparation materials and activities?

Yes, the purposes of advance approval are to ensure that unethical practices are not implemented inadvertently and to ensure that students who need assistance will have the right help available in a timely manner. Consequently, a designated staff member--school administrator or testing coordinator--should be given responsibility for reviewing the procedures and materials that any teachers may want to use. (Teachers should ask whether certain practices are acceptable rather than assuming that they are.) Approvals and denials should be documented in case questions arise at a later time about the legitimacy of any activities.  

C.    Test Administration 
The Directions for Administration manuals for the Iowa Tests provide explicit guidance about preparing for a test administration. They also include directions for administering, each test along with instructions that should be read verbatim to provide a standard testing situation for all students, no matter who gives the test, where it is given, or when it is given. District policy should be clear that all tests should be administered exactly as the publisher's manual specifies. The use of accommodations or modifications also is outlined in the Directions manual, but each district needs to establish its own policy regarding the use of accommodations, especially by those who do not have an IEP or 504 plan. 
  1. What kind of assistance or advice can be provided to students during the test administration? 
It should be made explicit to all who give the tests that assistance during the test administration is not permitted (unless accommodations specified in the IEP or 504 plan or district testing team (principal, counselor, teacher, parent) call for a certain type of assistance).  Students should never be told during the test administration which answers are correct or whether they have answered an item incorrectly. The test administrator should not provide hints, word meanings, pronunciations, or rephrased questions.  Students should not engage in any practice that could artificially impact the score of any student.  Prohibited behaviors include communication with one another in any form during the testing sessions, copying from others, and using electronic devices other than approved calculators or assistive technology. 
  1. What are the district's expectations regarding the use of the time limits provided in the Directions for Administration? 
All time limits and directions given in the Directions for Administration should be adhered to strictly (except in the case of an accommodation for an individual student that calls for extended time). Time limits should not be modified at the discretion of the test administrator. 
  1. What are the acceptable and unacceptable accommodations or modifications that might be considered for use with students who have an IEP or 504 plan? 
District policy regarding the use of accommodations during testing should be developed in conjunction with policy about including assessment accommodations in IEPs and 504 plans. Examples of inappropriate accommodations are reading comprehension test should not be read to students who struggle with reading. Such a change would modify what is being measured (listening comprehension rather than reading comprehension in this case). The use of a dictionary on the Vocabulary test or the use of a calculator on the Math Computation test are additional examples of changes that should not be permitted. The Directions for Administration manual for the Iowa Tests has additional details about the use of accommodations and modifications. 
  1. What procedures should be used in deciding whether a student who has no IEP or 504 plan should be given any accommodations? 
Some students who have not been identified for special education services, and thus have no lEP or 504 plan, may have skill levels that require an accommodation. When a staff member identifies such a student, a request for accommodations must be made to the District Testing Team. This request will include data that substantiates the request. If the team believes that the accommodation will allow the student to demonstrate his/her true academic levels and that the same accommodations are used during instruction, the request for specific accommodations will be granted.  The District Test Coordinator will keep documentation of all requests on file. 
  1. Which accommodations are permitted or not permitted with English Language Learners? 
The rationale for using accommodations with an English Language Learner (ELL) is the same as the one that applies to a student with a disability.  For an ELL, competence in the English language is regarded as a form of disability because the student's low skill level in English interferes with measuring achievement in areas such as science, reading, and math problem solving.  To reduce the impact of the language on measuring the student's achievement, changes in the administration might be made.  Specific accommodations that could be considered are identified in the Directions for Administration for the Iowa Tests. Any accommodation that could change the nature of what the test is measuring should not be used.  Thus, a read-aloud could be appropriate in math but not for reading comprehension. The use of a translation dictionary would be appropriate in science if meanings of scientific words were not given in the dictionary. 
 D.    Using Test Materials After Testing 
There are some legitimate reasons for a school district to have test materials in its possession well after testing has been completed and the bulk of testing materials have been returned to the scoring center.  For example, several score reports can be used most effectively if the user has access to the exact test items to which students responded. (The Group Item Analysis and the Class Item Response Record are both examples.) Curriculum work involving alignment checking is also a situation in which access to the test booklet may be needed. Districts may request copies of tests from Iowa Testing Programs for such uses. (See section A above, also.) 
  1. What kinds of alterations to a student's answer document are permissible by individuals other than the student once testing is over?
In preparing answer documents for scoring, it may be appropriate for a staff member to erase smudges or stray marks on student documents.  But no changes should ever be made to student responses to test items except by a student during testing.  If demographic coding of answer documents needs to be completed by a district employee, explicit directions should be given about how to code and which existing marks should not be changed.   Student answer documents should be stared temporarily in a secure area to prevent unauthorized access to them. 
  1. Who should be permitted access to testing materials during the year? 
Individuals who are authorized to acquire test materials from Iowa Testing Programs should be vested with the responsibility for making tests accessible to staff members who  have a professional need to use them.  It is inappropriate to disclose the contents of test materials to students, parents, or others who do not have a professional need for such information. 
  1. What procedures should govern the use of test materials outside of the test administration window (e.g., for what purposes or uses can access be granted, for how long can materials be kept, and can materials leave the building)? 
Once annual testing is completed, all test materials need to be stored until they cam be organized for return to the scoring center.  Care must be taken to provide the same type of secure conditions as should have been provided when materials first arrived in the district. 
For materials that remain, the custodian of test booklets should maintain a log of booklet use: name, date, intended use, due date for return, and actual date of return.  Everyone who is authorized to check out a test booklet needs to be advised about the roles associated with the professional use of the tests.  Uses may include interpreting information on selected score reports and conducting alignment checks between the district content standards and the assessment content. 
E.   Use of Score Reports and Data Files 
Results from the Iowa Tests are provided to each district in the form of printed-paper reports and electronic data files. The district test coordinator is responsible for maintaining the integrity of electronic files, both in their original CD-ROM format and within whatever database (local or AEA) the data may have been imported. 
  1. Who should receive, store, and distribute test results in their paper and electronic forms? 
Many district staff members have legitimate professional needs for possessing and using various printed score reports.  Consequently, written policy should recognize those needs.  At the same time, test scores of individuals need to be handled confidentially, consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  However, there is good reason to limit the individuals who are permitted to release district-wide test data to external groups. Few district staff are close enough to the testing process to recognize when a given report is a comprehensive, complete, and accurate representation of/ district-wide or building-wide performance.  In addition, many are unable to provide the interpretive guidance that would be required for promoting sound use of the test results. Thus, the external distribution of a district's test results should he limited to those who are prepared to certify their completeness and offer interpretive assistance to the recipient 
  1. To whom may test results be distributed and for what purposes? 
Certainly students and their legal guardians have a right to see their individual scores, but those scores should be treated as confidential, consistent with FERPA.  Thus, the scores of individuals may not be shared, on paper or in electronic form, with others without written permission. (That permission probably should be granted only by the Superintendent.) The scores of grade group (e.g., averages, other summary data) are subject to the provisions of the open records law, but their release or distribution should be handled by individuals who are capable of providing the type of interpretive assistance that is likely to reduce the chances that the data will be misused or misunderstood. 
  1. Who should be permitted access to the electronic data files? 
Electronic files can be modified easily to change test scores or demographic information associated with individual students.  Access to the original data file should be limited so that the file can be maintained as the primary source against which checks can be made for establishing the integrity of analyses that might have been performed with the data.  When the data file is the source for mandated reporting (i.e., to the state), limited access also should be maintained so that final results can be certified by the district readily.
  1. Under what circumstances should an electronic data file be modified, and how should such changes be documented?
Occasionally errors occur in preparing data files containing demographic information about individual students.  When such data are joined with test data, there may be a need to make corrections in the demographics so that accurate subgroup reporting can occur.  Procedures for modifying the data file to correct such errors should specify who has responsibility for making changes, how such changes will be verified, and how the work will be documented so that future users will be aware of the changes and the reasons for them.  Of course, when a data file is modified, no changes should ever be made to test scores or student test-item responses.
Adoption:      02-12-09
Review:         03-22-10 9-14-15
Legal References: