On Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, all students took the Iowa Assessments, formerly known as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS). The test includes sections in Vocabulary, Reading Comprehension, Spelling, Capitalization, Punctuation, Usage and Expression, Math Concepts and Estimation, Math Problem Solving and Data Interpretation, Math Computation, Social Studies, Maps and Diagrams, and Reference Materials. These assessments are often used to suggest areas where the skills of individual students are most and least developed.
Between 2006 and 2009, the Iowa Assessments played a role in the Cognitive Genesis study. The project gathered massive amounts of data about the academic achievement and abilities of 51,706 students in more than 800 Adventist elementary schools and academies in the United States. The students were in grades 3 to 9, and also in grade 11. Every conference and nearly every school participated.
The study was designed to determine how well students are doing in the Adventist school system and how their academic achievement compares to the achievement of students in other school systems. Standardized Iowa achievement tests were given each year to gather this data.
In addition to measuring knowledge and skills with achievement tests, the researchers wanted to assess students’ ability to learn, adapt, solve problems and understand instructions—their aptitude. The Cognitive Abilities Test was used each year to gather this data.
The findings of the study revealed that:
- Students in all grades, in Adventist schools of all sizes, outperformed the national average in all subjects.
- Students in Adventist schools had higher-than-expected academic achievement based on an assessment of individual ability.
- Students who transferred to Adventist schools saw a significant improvement in their test scores. Also, the longer students stayed in the Adventist school system, the more they gained in achievement and ability.
Discover more about the Cognitive Genesis study here.