Now serving 160+ school districts in Iowa and other states, MISIC began in 1998 as a collaborative between 15 school districts in central Iowa. The districts came together under a Goals 2000 grant to develop a common core curriculum that would be used as the basis for the development of a “custom standardized” test. As the consortium began to work on the “core curriculum,” other districts asked to join in the work. Twenty-two districts were eventually involved in developing the criterion-referenced tests currently used by MISIC members.
As the consortium searched for partners in the test development process, they became aware of the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA). NWEA is a non-profit organization based in Portland, Oregon. NWEA also had its beginnings with a group of school districts who were looking for better ways to measure student progress. Working with their member districts, NWEA developed test item banks in reading, language arts, math and science. These item banks contain tens of thousands of valid and reliable test items. NWEA staff worked closely with teachers from MISIC districts to develop tests that align closely with the core curriculum.
Over the years, the consortium has begun to expand its collaborative work to include the development of other teaching and learning components. The consortium is currently working on expanding a data bank of performance assessment items that are linked to the core curriculums. New projects will include the development of instructional strategies linked to the benchmarks of the core.
In addition to teaching and learning materials, the consortium offers its members schools several different workshops on using data to create changes in classroom instruction. Consortium members are involved in helping build better testing system and instructional practices in statewide as well as national efforts. Members work closely with AEA personnel to impact instructional practice and to help teachers make informed instructional decisions.
The consortium continues to grow in number. The current membership includes over 160 districts across the state and in other states. The consortium became a non-profit corporation on July 1, 2004.
MISIC was formed to:
- Provide support for school improvement efforts of member districts
- Create opportunities and avenues for member school districts to engage in collaborative projects and work.