Posted: Wed, 08/17/2011 - 8:59am Updated: Tue, 08/22/2017 - 3:10pm

Purpose

The purpose of an alternate assessment is to measure student achievement in the subject areas of English/Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics for grades 3-8 and 10, Science (Grades 4, 6 and 10), Social Studies (Grades 5 and 7) based on alternate academic achievement standards. For students with significant cognitive disabilities, the Case Conference Committee, utilizing the criteria for determining eligibility to participate, may determine that the Indiana Standards Tool for Alternate Reporting (ISTAR) is the most appropriate assessment. The criteria can be found in the "Additional Resources" section below.

Indiana Standards Tools for Alternate Reporting (ISTAR)

Assessment items are based on the grade level alternate standards (Content Connectors). Because students with significant cognitive disabilities are a diverse population with a variety of needs, it was important to develop items across a broad range of abilities. Three levels of items were created, called "tiers".

  • Tier 1 questions and answer choices include low structural level items with a range of item difficulty and complexity. Graphics are provided for most answer choices along with text which give students a visual support to answer the questions.
  • Tier 2 questions and answer choices include medium structural level items with a range of item difficulty and complexity. They may include more introductory phrases in the questions and fewer graphics in answer choices than in Tier 1. They also include a greater level of complexity in how students respond to the questions than in Tier 1.
  • Tier 3 questions and answer choices include high structural level items with a range of item difficulty and complexity. There is more text and few to no graphics in the answer choices. There may be more abstract ideas and inferencing. There is more complexity in how students respond to the questions than in Tier 2.

ISTAR is made up of 2 test windows. In the first testing window (Part 1), all students take the same test form that consists of items from a range of complexities. Generally, Tier 1 items are less complex and require less interaction with the content than Tier 2 items, and Tier 2 items are less complex and have less interaction than Tier 3 items. Performance on Part 1 informs placement into one of three tiered forms for the second testing window (Part 2).  Each tiered form contains a mixture of items from adjacent tiers.  For example, the easiest tiered form in Part 2 contains mostly Tier 1 items with some Tier 2 items. Performance on items from both parts are combined for the final summative student score.

The purpose of the test blueprint is to make transparent to educators the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of students on the assessments. 

Content Area Grade New for 2018-19
English/Language Arts Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5 Grade 6 Grade 7 Grade 8 Grade 10  
Mathematics Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5 Grade 6 Grade 7 Grade 8 Grade 10  
Science   Grade 41 NA Grade 61 NA NA Grade 103 Grade 42
Grade 62
Grade 104
Social Studies     Grade 5 NA Grade 7 NA NA  

1 ISTAR science blueprint aligns to the 2010 standards. Field test items align to the 2016 standards (including K-8 computer science standards).
2 Future science blueprint aligns to the 2016 standards (including K-8 computer science standards).
3 ISTAR science blueprint aligns to the 2010 standards. Field test items align to the 2016 standards.
4 Future science blueprint aligns to the 2016 standards.

The purpose of these documents is to provide educators with instructional and assessment guidance at the content connector level to assist in instructional decisions.  These documents include a key to the content priorities for the ISTAR assessments. 

Instructional and Assessment Guidance including the Content Connectors 2016-17
English/Language Arts, Math, Science, & Social Studies Blueprint and Instructional & Assessment Guidance PD Training Video

The Item Samplers on this website provide information about ISTAR for students, parents, educators, and others. The items in each sampler are examples of the types of items found on ISTAR. These examples can serve as models when teachers are constructing items for classroom assessment. It should be noted that the samplers are not practice tests.

Item Samplers
ISTAR E/LA, Math, Science and Social Studies Item Sampler PD Training Video
English/Language Arts Grades 3-8 &10
Mathematics Grades 3-8 & 10
Science Grades 4, 6 & 10
Social Studies Grades 5 & 7

***Results for 2016-17 will be available in early September 2017

Contact

Karen Stein
Special Programs Assessment Specialist
Office of Student Assessment
Telephone: (317) 232-9050
Toll Free: (888) 544-7837