Around the same time, ACT announced that it would no longer offer the PLAN, the pre-ACT test for students in Grade 10 and the test that our sophomores have taken for many years. ACT announced that it was replacing the PLAN with a test by a different publisher, and because the new test was problematic in several ways, BJA opted against using it. So what will our tenth-graders do now? They will take the Iowa Assessments along with our other students.
Here’s how it will work. Students in K5 through Grade 10 will take the Iowa Assessments in the spring. For the sophomores, this means that they will take it along with the freshmen on a Friday in April when both juniors and seniors are focused on the Junior-Senior banquet—and this means that the sophomores no longer have a day off that day. (Do I hear a collective groan? Sorry, sophomores!)
Beginning with K5 and then during the even-numbered grades, students will also take the CogAT, Iowa’s Cognitive Abilities Test—which according to its publisher “measures students’ learned reasoning abilities in the three areas most linked to academic success in school.” These areas are verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal. Giving the test during the even-numbered grades means that it will be added in Grade 6, moved from Grade 7 to 8, and moved from Grade 9 to 10—providing a stronger overall plan for our students.
As you would expect, Iowa’s score reports that parents receive will look different from Stanford’s. We plan to include information to help read the new reports when we send home the reports, typically around the end of the school year.
Another test new to BJA will be given to our juniors. This is the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) Career Exploration Program. This testing includes both aptitude testing and an interest inventory and promises to be very helpful to our students and their parents, joining ability and interests in one test set. The ASVAB includes extensive helpful information available online as parents and their students consider the results of the testing and what it might mean for decisions about college majors. Provided by the U.S. military, the ASVAB program allows parents to easily opt out of allowing the military to retain any personal/contact information about students. The ASVAB will be given on October 14, and details will be communicated as testing time approaches.