Free NDSA Practice Test

In the state of North Dakota, all students in grades 3 through 8 as well as 11 must take the North Dakota State Assessment (NDSA). All students in those grades take the reading and math assessments, while students in grades 4, 8, and 11 also take the science assessment. It is a standards-based exam, meaning that it measures progress as to how well students are mastering specific skills determined to be appropriate for each grade by the state of North Dakota. The test is usually given in the months of October and/or November. By the following March, the state announces the initial Adequate Yearly Progress Report for each school district for which the NDSA plays a significant role.

The statewide goal for the NDSA is for all students to score at the level of proficient or advanced. The test results help provide an indication as to whether both students and schools and districts are making progress towards a mastery of state content standards. Schools with overall poor test results are required to identify and enact strategies to raise the overall achievement level of their student body. Content standards and benchmark scores are reported at five different reporting levels: state, school district, school, class, and student.

The tests are designed so that comparisons of overall student achievement can be made either by student, by classrooms within a school or school district, by schools within the state, or by school districts within the state. Part of the justification for the claim that scores from the NDSA are credible and valid measures of individual achievement and knowledge is that the assessments were devised by using items similar to the questions and activities that are used by teachers in a normal classroom setting. In other words, students are not being tested on new concepts in the NDSA, but instead are being tested on what they are already and were already learning in the classroom.

Topics covered in the math assessment include numbers and operations, geometry and spatial sense, data analysis, statistics and probability, measurement, and algebra, functions and patterns. Topics covered in the reading assessment include engaging in the research process as well as engaging in the reading process. Topics covered in the language assessment include engaging in the writing process and understanding and using preciseness of language. Topics covered in the science assessment include unifying concepts, science inquiry, physical science, life science, earth and space science, science and technology, science and other areas, and history and nature of science.

There are two different types of scores that are reported to indicate student achievement on the NDSA: a scale score and the level of achievement associated with the scale score. The scale score is a quantification of the achievement that is being measured by the four different tests. The level of achievement is based entirely on the scale score.

For each assessment, students are rated at one of four possible performance levels: novice, partially proficient, proficient, or advanced. Those who score advanced have demonstrated an exemplary understanding of expected knowledge and skills. Those who score proficient have successfully met the expected level of performance for their grade level. Those who are partially proficient have demonstrated an emerging or developing level of understanding. Those who are scored as "novice" clearly show that a lack of overall understanding and performance is evident throughout the exam.

All NDSA tests are untimed. The state of North Dakota provides approximate testing times for each grade that generally run between 10 and 80 minutes (though the majority of testing times are 60 minutes or less); however, those who need additional time to finish any given assessment will be afforded the opportunity to finish. In addition to the approximate testing times, approximately 5 to 10 additional minutes will be granted to each test section for administering sample items as well as for reading the introductions and directions needed for each particular assessment. Those who given the assessments must do so while following specific directions as provided by the state, except in instances in which a student's individualized education plan requires that special accommodations be provided.


Last Updated: 03/01/2017

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