The Archdiocese of Baltimore will no longer use the annual Iowa Assessment to test students. Instead, grade 1-8 students will be tested using the Performance Series assessment. Beginning Fall 2020, students will take a math, reading, and language arts test.

The Performance Series by Scantron is a diagnostic and placement tool for Grades 1–8. The Performance Series assessments make it easy for your child’s teachers to identify areas of strength and areas for growth. The new suite of assessments will provide teachers with detailed information that will inform their daily instruction. Overall, teachers will use the data from these assessments to:

  • identify your child’s ability levels.
  • demonstrate academic growth over time.
  • place your child in the appropriate instructional group.
  • identify gaps in knowledge and skill acquisition.

What is Performance Series®?

Performance Series is an online computer-adaptive test that adjusts to your child’s instructional levels based on his or her responses to questions. Unlike other assessments, Performance Series is norm-referenced and completely computer-based, and all test results are available to teachers and administrators immediately.

All tests begin in relation to your child’s current grade level the first time he or she takes a test in that subject. For those students who tested previously, the next test taken starts at a difficulty level where the student left off at the end of the last test. All scores are used for instructional grouping and to show growth and progress over time toward academic goals.

Computer-adaptive testing works by presenting questions that adjust based on the student's answers. Questions get slightly easier when a student answers incorrectly and slightly more challenging when a student answers correctly. Due to the adaptive nature of the test, each student will have a unique testing experience that will more accurately measure your child’s instructional level.

Why is this helpful to me?

  • Unique tests matched to your child’s instructional level more accurately determine his or her next steps in the classroom.
  • Results from these tests provide information to help you understand your child’s growth academically, through this year and across years.

Why is this helpful to my child’s teacher?

  • Immediate results mean teachers can adjust instruction more quickly to help your child master important concepts.
  • Educational materials can be customized by group or individual student based on score results, which helps teachers improve learning outcomes.
  • Detailed reports allow teachers to evaluate current or new teaching strategies against the scores for the class and make adjustments as needed for any skills and/or concepts that may need re-teaching.

When are the tests given?
The tests are administered three (3) times per year in reading, mathematics, and language arts for grades 1–8. As a result of the computer-based model, students will spend less total time testing then previously seen with paper and pencil tests that took up to a week of instructional time.

For more information, please read the Parent Guide.


Info specific to 2020: Because this is a computer-based assessment, parents have the option of keeping their children home from school that day to complete the exam. Please notify your child's homeroom teacher if they will be staying home so you can receive the appropriate login information.

Students already learning virtually will be given login information from your child's homeroom teacher.

*No new instruction will be given on test days. Students opting to remain home to test are only expected to complete the test. It is a series of 3 untimed tests (2 for Gr 1) which should take approximately 1 hour to complete. Breaks will be given in between testing.*

Read Ms. Kilty's Letter to Parents