International Schools' Assessment (ISA)
What is the ISA?
The International Schools’ Assessment (ISA) is an annual assessment program specially developed to measure skills in mathematical literacy, reading and writing of students in international schools.
The ISA is based on the internationally endorsed reading and mathematics frameworks of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) developed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The ISA is designed and developed in Australia by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER).
The ISA reports to parts provide descriptive information about what students know and can do. The results are equated from year to year so they can be used to track changes over time at the individual and school levels.
What is the ISA Not?
ISA is not a competitive, comparative, or high-stakes test, such as SAT or IB exams. It is not a test that students “pass”. It will not be used for purposes other than providing data to your child, to you, and to us about his/her learning. While we give opportunities to discuss and prepare for the ISA, students do not study specific content for the tests, since they are generally consistent with what students learn on a regular basis.
Who uses the ISA?
A growing number of international schools use the ISA, including many of the acknowledged world leaders in international education. In 2009 over 46,000 students from 244 schools participated.
How do the assessments work?
Students complete a reading literacy test, a mathematical literacy test, and two writing tests, each lasting between 45 minutes and one hour. The tests include both multiple-choice and open-ended free response tasks.
What grades will take the ISA?
We use the ISA this year in grades 3-8 and 10. The tests will be administered in ‘normal’ school conditions by students in Grades 3-8 and 10, in groupings and classrooms that are familiar to students.
How will ICS use the results?
As a school we will analyze data about general patterns of performance and use these (among other data) to monitor and modify our educational programs to meet our students’ needs. The ISA does not replace teacher-developed tests and observations of student learning, but “adds value” to these internal assessments of learning.
What information will I receive as a parent?
We will pass on all information about your child to you in the form of an individual report. These reports are provided by ACER and are very comprehensive. It will give you a detailed record of your child’s performance in relation to scales that describe increasingly advanced skills in mathematical literacy, reading literacy and writing. You will receive them by early February.
In conclusion. . .
We see the development and use of the ISA as a significant advance in international education that will provide you with clear information about your child’s progress against credible, objective international standards.