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Yes, Iowa private school students receiving money through an Education Savings Account will have to take state and federal tests

House File 68 requires the Iowa Department of Education to report an analysis of the data for students with an ESA in its annual condition of education report.

IOWA, USA — Two weeks ago, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed her "school choice" plan into law that creates a new Education Savings Account program. 

The bill gives every Iowa student the option of receiving $7,598 in state money each year to pay for private school.

A News 8 viewer asked VERIFY if this would impact state testing requirements.


"With the new Iowa education bill for private schools, will the private schools have to take the Iowa Assessment Tests since they will be getting state money?"




This is true.

Yes, private school students who have an ESA will be required to take all applicable state and federally-required tests.


Currently, all public and state-accredited nonpublic schools are required to administer the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress. Schools administer the test, which focuses on math, science and English language arts, each spring to students in grades 3-11.

This is "Iowa's one state assessment that all school districts and state-accredited nonpublic schools administer," a spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Education told News 8.

The Iowa Department of Education uses the data to help understand student proficiency and academic progress.

Two Iowa private schools, St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School and Prince of Peace Catholic School, confirmed to News 8 that they do administer the ISASP test and report the data to the state.

Julie Delaney, the principal at St. Paul, explained that the data isn't publicized because the school's student population is too small and could reveal individual student results.

However, the bill adds a new requirement for state-accredited nonpublic schools to administer all state and federally-required assessments to students in the ESA program. It also requires the Iowa Department of Education to report an analysis of the assessment data for students participating in the ESA program in its annual condition of education report.

The language in House File 68 states:

"Each pupil participating in the education savings account program is required to take all applicable state and federally required student assessments and the results of those assessments shall be provided to the pupil's parents or guardians and reported to the Department of Education.

The Department of Education shall compile all such reported assessment results in order to analyze student proficiency and academic progress among those pupils participating in the program, including analysis of graduation rates, proficiency, and progress based on grade level, gender, race and household income level. The results of the department's analysis shall be included in the annual condition of education report."

Delaney explained that her private elementary school students are also already required by the state to take a formative assessment in reading and math three times a year, the same as public school students. They're given options of how to test this.

The Iowa Department of Education referred us to a section on their website that outlines federal and state-required student assessments.

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