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Indiana Center for Assessment and Instruction (ICAI)


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ISTAR Assessment: General Description

The purpose of any assessment tool used with children is to identify current skills by documenting evidence, note periodic progress and effectiveness of intervention, and to inform instructional practice.ISTAR stands for Indiana Standards Tool for Alternate Reporting. The ISTAR Assessment was developed more than ten years ago with the support of stakeholders in Indiana (e.g., public school administrators and teachers, university personnel, and personnel from the Indiana Department of Education). This assessment tool is web-based and is aligned to the Indiana Academic Standards. The ISTAR assessment is currently widely used in Indiana, as ISTAR is required for all preschool students with IEPs and is Indiana’s Alternate Assessment for students who meet the criteria in grades 3 through 10. In addition, numerous private community early childhood education settings now use ISTAR-KR (Kindergarten Readiness). Please see below for specific descriptions of ISTAR for early childhood students and school-aged students with IEPs.

ISTAR-Kindergarten Readiness (ISTAR-KR)

The purpose of ISTAR-KR is to measure skills in children from infancy to kindergarten. A derivative of Indiana's Early Learning Standards (which are part of the Foundations to Indiana Academic Standards); ISTAR is aligned to the Indiana Academic Standards for Kindergarten in the areas of English/language arts and mathematics and includes three functional areas: physical, personal care and social-emotional skills. This web-based instrument is rated by teachers based on their ongoing observations of children engaged in typical daily routines and activities. It is available to all public schools in Indiana and to private early childhood education programs at no cost. Data from ISTAR-KR is used for multiple purposes. i.e., state reporting to the federal Office of Special Education, parent reporting to identify current and next skills of the child; and early childhood administrators may use the data to reflect program and teacher effectiveness. Through a grant from the U.S. DOE, the instrument was validated and calibrated to measure progress toward kindergarten readiness.

Want to know more?  Check out the following self-guided tutorials:

Ongoing Assessment of Young Children!

Using child Data to Improve Preschool Planning

For more information check out the ISTAR Factsheet.

For more resources please visit the Indiana Department of Education's ISTAR Resource page.