Posted: Wed, 08/17/2011 - 8:59am Updated: Wed, 06/21/2017 - 8:22am

Indiana Standards Tools for Alternate Reporting (ISTAR)


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)

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 - Tier 1 questions use simple and direct language. Graphics are provided for most answer choices, along with text, which give students a visual support to answer the questions.

  • Tier 2 - Tier 2 questions are more complex than those in Tier 1. More introductory phrases may be included in the questions and fewer graphics in the answer choices than in Tier 1. There is a greater level of complexity in how students respond to the questions than in Tier 1.

  • Tier 3 - Tier 3 includes more detailed directions and questions. There is more text and few to no graphics in the answer choices. There may be more abstract ideas and inferencing in Tier 3. There is more complexity in how students respond to the questions than in Tier 2.


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
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 N/A Grade 4 N/A Grade 6 N/A N/A Grade 10
Social Studies N/A N/A Grade 5 N/A Grade 7 N/A N/A

Instructional and Assessment Guidance including the Content Connectors

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. 

English/Language Arts, Math, Science, & Social Studies Blueprint and Instructional & Assessment Guidance PD Training Video

Item Samplers

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.

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

Additional Resources


  • Coming soon!


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