The director of the Iowa Department of Education has named the 18 members of a task force that will try to come up with recommendations for a new state assessment test for students. Department spokesperson, Staci Hupp, says Iowa law requires student to be tested. The tests used to be known as the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills.

“What we’re doing as a state is looking at the future of state assessments in Iowa,” Hupp says. “We are doing this because schools are in the process of implementing state standards for what students should know and be able to do in kindergarten through 12th grade.”

The task force will examine the options for the assessments. “The main goal with all this is to do everything we can to make sure all students leave high school prepared for college and career training,” Hupp says. The task force will hold the first of several meetings on October 29th.

Hupp says the recommendations are expected to be completed by January first of 2015.  She says the task force includes a broad range of people with and interest in education. “They come from teaching backgrounds, they’re school administrators, they represent parents, they represent the business community, they represent our  education associations in the state,” according to Hupp.

The task force has four criteria they are to follow in developing the recommendations. The assessments must align with the Iowa Core standards; accurately describe student achievement and growth; provide valid, reliable and fair measures of student progress toward college or career readiness and must have been part of a pilot project in schools.

Hupp says the task force will explore different ways to get public input on the recommendations as they move forward.

Members of the Assessment Task Force are:
Ruth Allison, Administrative Consultant, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Des Moines
Catherine Blando, Educator, Iowa City
Shelly Bosovich, Executive Director, Des Moines Public Schools
Kathy Brenny, Consultant, Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency, Storm Lake
Martha Bruckner, Superintendent, Council Bluffs Community School District, Council Bluffs
Lowell Ernst, Director of K-12 Instruction, Pella Community School District, Pella
Harry Heiligenthal, Leadership Development Director, Iowa Association of School Boards, Des Moines
Tina Hoffman, Regional Administrator, Grant Wood Area Education Agency, Cedar Rapids
Mark Lane, Principal, Jensen Elementary, Urbandale
Jo Ellen Latham, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Southeast Polk Community School District, Pleasant Hill
Jane Lindaman, Associate Superintendent for Educational Services, Waterloo Community School District, Waterloo
Jon McKenzie, Director of Assessment  & Comprehensive Improvement, Area Education Agency 267, Cedar Falls
Angela Olson, Associate Principal, Xavier High School, Cedar Rapids
Elliott Smith, Executive Director, Iowa Business Council, Des Moines
David Tilly, Deputy Director, Iowa Department of Education, Des Moines
Tammy Wawro, President, Iowa State Education Association, Des Moines
Melanie Wirtz, Teacher, Union High School, La Porte City
Karen Woltman, Parent, Swisher

For more information on state commissions and task forces established as part of 2013 legislation, visit the Iowa Department of Education’s website at: