All about the i-Ready Diagnostic Test (2024)

All about the i-Ready Diagnostic Test (1)

Reading and Math skills are foundational lessons taught throughout school. But since students come from different backgrounds and home dynamics, it can be difficult to teach them the same lessons at the same pace and expect everyone to catch up.

To address the varying learning speeds and gaps in students, the i-Ready Diagnostic Test is administered from Kindergarten up to Grade 8. It provides teachers and students a chance to understand each other: how the teacher can help, and how the student can learn better. While the test aims to help students and is usually not included in their grades, it is still essential to prepare for it.

Table of Contents

i-Ready Diagnostic Test: Overview

i-Ready is an educational program, developed and founded by the company Curriculum Associates, established in 2011. The company aims to help improve learning in schools all over the country, using a platform that delivers personalized instruction for both teachers and students. It is a highly-rated program that has delivered assessments to more than 11 million students in the United States, and is also the preferred targeted assessment program than other available ones in the country.

The i-Ready Diagnostic Test for Kinder to Grade 8 is used to pinpoint areas where students need help in Reading and Math. Once the students finish the assessments, teachers get their results, identify learning gaps, and choose from multiple learning pathways, complete with lessons and classwork, that will help address learning needs.

Aside from the Diagnostic Test, Curriculum Associates also offers other i-Ready Assessment programs:

  • Standards Mastery – Assesses understanding of Math and Reading for Grades 2 to 8
  • Assessment of Spanish Reading – Assesses reading performance in Spanish for Kindergarten to Grade 6
  • Literacy Tasks – Provides additional mastery for literacy lessons for Kindergarten to Grade 6
  • Dyslexia Screener – Screens possible dyslexia risk for Kindergarten to Grade 3

The most essential feature of the i-Ready Diagnostic Test is that it is an adaptive assessment. This means that the difficulty of the next question is adjusted based on how the student answered the previous question. It adapts to the current proficiency of the student and pinpoints their exact placement or ranking.

The test is administered three times: at the beginning of the school year, in the middle, and at the end. Both tests consist of 60 to 90 multiple choice questions each, which takes approximately 50 minutes for Kindergarten to Grade 1 pupils, and 90 minutes for Grades 2 to 8 pupils. However, the test is untimed, and some schools opt to divide the test over several days to avoid overwhelming pupils, especially ones in lower grade levels. As it is an adaptive test, difficulty will vary depending on the student’s current skills and responses.

The Math Section of the assessment covers the following topics:

  1. Algebra and Algebraic Thinking – proficiency in arithmetic skills such as number patterns, series, and word problems
  2. Numbers and Operations – proficiency in arithmetic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division), as well as decimals and fractions
  3. Measurement and Data – proficiency in charts, graphs, and tables, and statistics for higher grade levels
  4. Geometry – proficiency in two- and three- dimensional shapes

On the other hand, the Reading Section covers the following topics:

  1. Phonics – proficiency in identifying sound of spoken English with written English
  2. Phonological Awareness – proficiency in sounds, letters, and syllables to form words
  3. High-frequency words – proficiency in common words such as “like,” “and,” and “there”
  4. Vocabulary – proficiency in understanding the meaning of words
  5. Comprehension (Literature) – proficiency in understanding a literary text
  6. Comprehension (Informational Text) – proficiency in understanding informational passages

After the test, the i-Ready Personalized Instruction provides lessons based on their individual skill level, so they can learn at a pace that is just right for them. This will continue as long as they are using the program.

Why Do Schools Use the i-Ready Test?

More and more schools in the US use the i-Ready Diagnostic Test because of its simple but clear program and platform. This particular assessment helps schools by providing adaptive tests, which according to the official website, “use sophisticated algorithms to zero in on a precise measure of student ability. After starting students out at a difficulty level formulated on an educated guess (based on their chronological grade level in the case of i-Ready), the test adjusts up and down, with questions of varying difficulty, until the assessment reaches the level of difficulty that is perfectly matched to a given student.”

Each student account also tracks their individual progress, so teachers can see if they are completing their coursework and are improving at the same time. i-Ready complements the current lessons taught as prescribed in the official curriculum, informing instruction with content especially developed by other expert educators.

Finally, the results of the i-Ready Test can help schools evaluate the state of their individual reading and math programs. It can also help educators and school leaders pinpoint major problems in their policies that need to be addressed or changes, all the while considering the individual learning skills of each student.

What are the Benefits of the i-Ready Test?

The i-Ready Test is beneficial for everyone involved:

For Students

Some students might be too shy to ask for help, especially in the classroom where they might feel insecure if their peers seem to understand the lesson while they struggle. The adaptive feature of the test will help them “tell” the teacher where they need extra help, while the online coursework will help them improve their proficiencies in areas they were having difficulties with.

For Teachers

Teachers handle hundreds of students in a school year; while ideally they can be given enough time and resources to help them one by one, assessing and addressing individual proficiencies in Math and Reading sounds almost impossible. With i-Ready, teachers are provided with a streamlined program that follows the curriculum and provides different lessons to students based on their current levels. i-Ready takes a lot of weight from teachers to allow them to help students in other ways and subjects.

For Schools

Through i-Ready Diagnostic results, school administrators and leaders can get an overall evaluation or ranking of their student body in Reading and Math. It also helps them pinpoint students who need more help, and therefore need additional resources so they can eventually catch up with their classmates. The ready-made program is tailored to help school districts help their students.

Overall, the i-Ready Assessment provides an easier, scientific-based assessment that will allow schools and teachers to help students and address issues in instruction.

Questions to Expect

Here are some sample questions for both Reading and Math subjects of the i-Ready Assessment Test:


Sample Question #1

Oliver and Mia are training for a marathon. Oliver ran 36 miles in the last 4 days, and Mia ran 90 miles in the last 15 days. What is the difference between their unit rates per day?

A) 6 miles per day

B) 7 miles per day

C) 8 miles per day

D) 9 miles per day

To calculate:

Oliver’s unit rate per day = 36 miles ÷ 4 days = 9 miles per day

Mia’s unit rate per day = 90 miles ÷ 15 days = 6 miles per day

Therefore, the difference between their unit rates per day is A) 3 miles per day.

Sample Question #2

A polygon has angles that add up to 540 degrees.

What is the name of this polygon?

A) Pentagon

B) Octagon

C) Nonagon

D) Hexagon

To determine the name of the polygon with angles adding up to 540 degrees, we can use the formula for the sum of interior angles in a polygon: (n – 2) * 180 degrees, where ‘n’ represents the number of sides or vertices in the polygon.

Let’s plug in the value of the sum of angles (540 degrees) into the formula, (n – 2) * 180 = 540. The polygon has 5 sides or vertices. Therefore, the name of this polygon is A) Pentagon.

Sample Question #3

Which of the following is NOT a prime number?

A) 71

B) 79

C) 83

D) 89

E) 92

The correct answer is E) 92, because it has divisors other than 1 and itself. It can be divided evenly by 1, 2, 4, 23, 46, and 92.


Sample Question #1

Which verb tense is most appropriate for the sentence?

He ___________ the book yesterday.

A. reads

B. will read

C. reading

D. read

The sentence “He ___________ the book yesterday” is in the past tense, and the correct past tense form of the verb “to read” is “read.” Therefore, the completed sentence should use D. read.

Sample Question #2

After winning the championship, the team celebrated their victory with enthusiasm. The players demonstrated great sportsmanship throughout the tournament, showing respect to their opponents and the referees. The team’s ___________ conduct was praised by everyone.

What does sportsmanship mean?

A. dishonest behavior

B. fair and respectful behavior

C. aggressive attitude

D. Arrogance

Sportsmanship refers to the ethical and honorable behavior exhibited by athletes or teams, especially in competitive sports. It involves showing respect for opponents, referees, and the rules of the game, regardless of the outcome. The answer is therefore B. fair and respectful behavior.

Sample Question #3

Read the following poem:


How far is it to the stars?

More than a thousand miles.

If we reach the outermost one,

Then what lies beyond its trials?

What is the theme of this poem?

A. The vastness of the universe

B. The pursuit of knowledge

C. The limitations of human exploration

D. The allure of distant places

The poem contemplates the vastness and distance of the stars, portraying the sense of wonder and awe that comes with contemplating it. The answer is therefore A. The vastness of the universe.

Looking for more online practice questions? Test Prep Online offerreliable and high quality test prep packs.

How to Prepare for the i-Ready Test

Preparing for the i-Ready Test involves all concerned parties: guardians, teachers, schools, and of course, the pupil. It is important that everyone is aware of the importance of taking the test each time throughout the school year so any issues will be properly addressed. Here are some tips for preparing for the i-Ready Test:

For Schools/Teachers:

  • Orient families and pupils. Make sure that parents or guardians know the importance of the i-Ready Diagnostic Test. Emphasize how it does not aim to judge the students, but rather help them in their problem areas, so they can eventually improve their reading and Math Skills. Make sure teachers also know how to access the results of the test so it can help them create individual learning plans for pupils.
  • Keep records. Coordinate with the school teachers and the IT team to make sure that all login information of students are kept safe. In case guardians or the student changes the password, make sure you also have a copy of the updated information for safekeeping.
  • Prepare devices. If the students can only access the i-Ready platform with school computers or wi-fi, make sure that the school is properly equipped to avoid technical issues while taking the test.

For Families/Pupils:

  • Orient the pupil at home. Once finished talking to the teacher about i-Ready, talk to the pupil at home and introduce them to this test. Emphasize the benefits of the assessment and how it can help them in the subject areas that they have difficulties with, and that the online lessons or homework are part of their journey. Remind them that just because the school will not include their scores in their overall grade, that they can be reckless in answering the questions. The results will give a diagnostic to the teachers, which they will use to form lesson plans for the students.
  • Familiarize the student with the platform. If the school allows access to i-Ready at home, take some time to explore the website and the platform with them. Teach them to remember or keep their passwords in a safe place, and the basics of navigating the website, so they won’t be overwhelmed when they take the test.
  • Review and practice with other learning materials. Refresh and review with learning materials in line with the curriculum and appropriate for the pupil’s grade level. Options such as online tutoring, gamified assessments, and online test prep packs can help them prepare and practice for the actual test. Using the school textbooks is also one of the simplest but most effective ways of helping the pupil prepare.
  • Prepare devices. The i-Ready test can be accomplished ideally with a laptop or desktop computer. For the other online or take home lessons, they can also use an iPad. Coordinate with the school to make sure your devices can run the platform or the application smoothly.
  • Relieve pressure. Again, this assessment was not made to judge students. Ensure that getting a lower score than their peers does not mean they will be left behind, or that getting a lower score in the second or third test means they failed to learn anything. There are many external factors that can affect a student’s learning journey, and it is important that they receive all the help that they need to improve and eventually gain confidence in their reading and math skills.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask. The i-Ready website has a dedicated Family Center page to help families prepare themselves for the test. Teachers will be ready to answer your or your pupil’s questions regarding the test.

How to Interpret your i-Ready Test Score

According to the i-Ready website, the scale scores that result from the test measure all students on the same scale, regardless of their grade level. Student performance is measured on a scale of 100–800. After this, the student will be assigned a level, which represents and equivalent grade:

  • Level AA – Kindergarten
  • Level A – First Grade
  • Level B – Second Grade
  • Level C – Third Grade
  • Level D – Fourth Grade
  • Level E – Fifth Grade
  • Level F – Sixth Grade
  • Level G – Seventh Grade
  • Level H – Eighth Grade

If a child is in third grade and is placed in Level B, this means that they are reading in second grade and will need special courses to improve. If a child is in fifth grade and is placed in Level H, then they are advanced and are reading like an eighth grader, and their practice materials will be on that level and higher.

For teachers, getting the diagnostic results will be per class. They will get key data points that they can use to adjust their lessons, track progress, and in general help students who are falling behind.

Teachers can also send the reports or individual results to their guardians. This way, parents can help the students track their progress using their own accounts, making sure that they complete their work. Parents and teachers should work together to help the student reach their goals, increase placement level, and proficiency.

Check out the official iReady Diagnostic Test interpretations to learn more about the i-Ready Test Score.

Are you Ready to Grow?

The i-Ready Test was developed to help both teachers and students from Kindergarten to Grade 8 in identifying learning gaps in Reading and Math. In order to track progress, it is ideally administered thrice a year and places students on levels depending on their score.

Preparing for the i-Ready Test must involve teachers, guardians, and students. It is important for students to take the test seriously, as it will help their teachers form their learning path in the next few months. Practicing with other online tests, reviewing with current school materials, and taking practice tests are just some of the ways students can prepare for this diagnostic test. Scoring low or high determines what kind of review or practice materials they will be getting so they can further improve.

It is important to highlight the benefits of the i-Ready Test, rather than the prestige of getting a higher placement than their peers or their current level, as its goal is to ultimately help each student based on their individual needs.

Related Test:

  • NWEA MAP Test
  • NWEA MAP 9th to 12th Grade Test

All about the i-Ready Diagnostic Test (7)

Sarah Duncan

Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.

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