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Preparing for Success: What You Need to Know About the computer test ISA

Image Source: Art by DALL-E 2 Artificial Intelligence (AI)

22nd February 2023

By: Aisha Turdieva

What are ISA tests and why do we take them?

ISA (International School’s Assessment ) is an international test taken by most international schools with a more international focus on education – a school like ours. The test is taken 5 times a year, for students through grades 3 to 10, and focuses on Mathematical literacy, Scientific Literacy, Reading, and Writing. However, before the actual tests, students experience 2 trial tests, which are meant to let students have some practice taking the test. The main purpose of ISA is to allow the school to determine the academic level of their students and understand in what areas should the school focus more. It may be lengthy, and a time-consuming process but it is a rewarding opportunity for schools to better assist their students. 

Taking the Trial Tests and the Actual Test:

It all starts off with our school providing you with your login credentials and a link to the official ISA test-taking website. Make sure to check if the said login information is your username and password, as you will be needing both. When you do access the test, remember you are not allowed to look at anyone else’s device while the test is being taken. Then you listen to the instructions and start the test. You first get practice questions/trial tests which show you what type of question structures you would get. Some examples of such structures are: 

  • Dragging a pencil from one point to another
  • Making graphs by dragging the bars in their correct places.
  • Typing the answer in its designated spot
  • Picking an answer by clicking a circle with the correct answer.
  • And, showing your work, in some questions.

The trial tests just give you the feeling you are going to experience when you take the actual tests.

However, taking the actual test feels a tad different. Similar to the trial tests, you have to answer the question in the manner you were shown in the trial tests.

  1. For mathematical literacy, most of the questions follow the structure where you type in the answer, show your work, or select the bubble with the answer you consider correct. 
  2. As for the Science Literacy test you usually answer with words/sentences, and by selecting a bubble. 
  3. For Reading, you type in your answer and select a bubble. 
  4. The writing tests are different though. 
    • For one of them, you get a picture, and you should write a piece that will include the object in the picture in any way. It could be that it is just the side piece or the main focus. It is your choice. 
    • While in the other, you get a prompt in which you address your opinion. You choose if you are either for, against, neutral, etc… in regard to the prompt. When they have picked their choices, they start writing. 

In conclusion, even though the tests are mandatory to take, they do not affect your school grades in any way. The tests will however be graded, but only in hopes to see in what areas should schools concentrate more in classes. It is for the purpose of the school to know your level of knowledge compared to an average student at your age who takes these tests. The results are sent to your parents, and allow you to see in what general areas you have to improve – such as either in maths, science, etc… Meaning, do not panic that much, but do practice for the test. It is a great, and effective, tool to help you understand how you can improve academically and thrive in the coming years.