Listed below are frequently asked questions related to Massachusetts and Istation.

If you have any additional questions about Istation products, Istation for iPad®, administration of the program, login, or error messages, please visit our Quick Tips and FAQs Web page.

Getting Started and General Information
  • What is Istation?
  • Istation is a web- and internet-based program that includes engaging, interactive content in a game-like format. The program supports students at all skill levels and, most importantly, encourages and enables progress and achievement as students move through the curriculum. Istation assesses each student's skill level and automatically assigns and delivers appropriate curriculum tailored to his or her individual abilities. Reporting tools available through the program inform teachers and parents when an intervention is needed and confirm that the student is on the right path. With free 24-7 access to this online adaptive program, teachers, students, and parents will be equipped with the necessary tools to build confidence and work toward academic success.
  • What is Istation’s relationship with Massachusetts?
  • In an effort to support schools and districts, Massachusetts’ Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has approved Istation’s screener and diagnostic assessment tools at no cost through July 31, 2021.
  • According to DESE, ISIP™ assessments:
    • Provide valid and reliable data;
    • Assist teachers in adapting their instruction based on identified student need and growth trends;
    • Provide actionable data that is clear and easy to interpret; and
    • Enable ease of communication with students, families, and other stakeholders.
  • What grades are included?
    • Istation’s Indicators of Progress (ISIP) Reading for PK-8,
    • Istation’s Indicators of Progress (ISIP) Español PK-5,
    • Istation’s Indicators of Progress (ISIP) Math for PK-8.
  • What is ISIP Reading?
  • ISIP Reading is a sophisticated, web-delivered computer-adaptive testing (CAT) system that provides continuous progress monitoring (CPM) by frequently assessing and reporting student ability in critical domains of reading throughout the academic years.
  • Designed for students in prekindergarten through eighth grade, ISIP Reading provides teachers and other school personnel with easy-to-interpret, web-based reports that detail student strengths and deficits and provide links to teacher resources. Use of this data allows teachers to more easily make informed decisions regarding each student’s response to targeted reading instruction and intervention strategies.
  • ISIP Reading (Istation’s assessment for pre-K through 8th grade) and Istation Reading (instruction for pre-K through 8th grade) measure and instruct in skills most predictive of reading success:
    • Listening Comprehension
    • Letter Knowledge
    • Vocabulary
    • Phonological/Phonemic Awareness
    • Alphabetic Decoding
    • Self-Selected Reading
    • Spelling
    • Word Analysis
    • Comprehension
    • Reading Fluency
    • Phonics
    • Alphabet and Alphabetic Principle
    • Written Response to Reading Selections
    • Oral Reading Fluency
  • It is designed to (a) identify students at risk of reading difficulties, (b) provide automatic continuous progress monitoring of skills that are predictors of later reading success, and (c) provide immediate and automatic linkage of assessment data to student learning needs, which facilitates differentiated instruction.
  • What is ISIP Español?
  • ISIP Español is a sophisticated, web-delivered computer-adaptive testing (CAT) system that provides continuous progress monitoring (CPM) by frequently assessing and reporting student ability in critical domains of Spanish reading.
  • The ISIP Español assessment is an authentic Spanish assessment based on sound standards from research and educational testing. Designed for students in prekindergarten through fifth grade who are receiving language arts reading instruction in Spanish, ISIP Español provides teachers and other school personnel with easy-to-interpret, web-based reports that detail student strengths and deficits and provide links to teacher resources. Use of this data allows teachers to more easily make informed decisions regarding each student’s response to targeted reading instruction and intervention strategies.
  • ISIP Español provides growth information in the five critical domains of reading:
    • Book and Print Awareness
    • Listening Comprehension
    • Phonological Awareness
    • Writing Conventions
    • Syllabic and Phonemic Awareness
    • Letter Writing and Spelling
    • Vocabulary Development
    • Word Analysis
    • Reading Comprehension
    • Making Connections Across Text
    • Text Fluency
    • Genre Study
  • What is ISIP Math?
  • ISIP Math is a sophisticated, web-delivered computer-adaptive testing (CAT) system that provides continuous progress monitoring (CPM) by frequently assessing and reporting student ability in critical domains of math such as, number sense, geometry, operations, measurement, algebra, and data analysis. In ISIP Math, students’ overall proficiency and mathematical abilities are measured in less than 30 minutes.
  • Designed for students in prekindergarten through eighth grade, ISIP Math provides teachers and other school personnel with easy-to-interpret, web-based reports that detail student strengths and deficits and provide links to teacher resources. Use of this data allows teachers to more easily make informed decisions regarding each student’s response to targeted instruction and intervention strategies.
  • What are some advantages of using Istation?
    • Less time is taken away from instruction for students, since teachers do not administer the assessment individually. An entire class can be assessed in all measures in approximately 30 minutes in a computer lab or group setting. Individually, the subtests range from three to ten minutes.
    • Instant scoring results and a wealth of reports are available, including Lexile and Quantile measures.
    • The interactive assessment keeps students engaged as they work through fun activities tailored to their abilities.
    • Thousands of teacher-directed lesson plans are available for teacher use to support an MTSS instructional model.
  • How do I register for Istation?
  • Email massachusetts@istation.com
  • Who in my district is authorized to sign up campuses?
  • A superintendent, deputy superintendent, or district representative will be able to sign up campuses and charter schools.
  • How long after I register until I hear about getting the students enrolled?
  • Once you have registered, you will receive a welcome email and step-by-step instructions on how to enroll your students.
  • Who in my district is authorized to make changes to the key contacts?
  • If a primary district contact needs to be added or changed, Istation Support can assist with this process. To ensure the account is created properly, a current district level contact or manager will need to e-mail support@istation.com with the following information:
    • Indicate you would like to add a new district user.
    • Provide the new user’s full name, e-mail address, and role.
  • Once the account has been created, Istation Support will notify both the person who requested the change and the new account owner.
  • If you are unsure who the current Contacts or Managers are for your District, please contact Istation Support at either support@istation.com or 1-214-237-9300 option 2 for assistance.
  • I have not used Istation before. Will training be provided?
  • In an effort to support districts with a successful launch and to optimize assessment completion, Istation has provided the following webinars and recordings:
    • Getting Started for Technical Contacts
    • Getting Started: ISIP Reading and Math
    • Getting Started: ISIP Español
  • Customized strategic professional development plans for growth beyond the Getting Started webinars are available for purchase. Please contact massachusetts@istation.com or your account manager.
  • Is there an online Help Center that I can go to for training and development?
  • Yes! Istation has a multitude of resources for development and training available 24/7 through the online Help Center, including videos, step-by-step guides, pre-recorded webinars, and live webinars. Upon login, a new Getting Started feature will guide you through a successful implementation with Istation. Whether you are a first-time user or are ready for more advanced user content, the Help Center offers tips and tricks, short tutorials, and even checklists to make sure you are getting all Istation has to offer. Log on at www.Istation.com and click “Help Center” at the top of the page.
  • Are SPED teachers supposed to give Istation assessments to students with IEPs?
  • As students grow in their learning throughout the year, their scores will increase. When their score reaches a certain point, an additional subtest may be presented.
  • ISIP Early Reading has these various subtests:
    • Listening Comprehension (LC)
    • Vocabulary (VOC)
    • Letter Knowledge (LK)
    • Phonological/Phonemic Awareness (PA)
    • Alphabetic Decoding (AD)
    • Reading Comprehension (CMP)
    • Spelling (SPL)
    • Text Fluency (TF)
  • With the exception of text fluency, any student in grades K-2 may see any of these subtests. Kindergarteners begin with LC, VOC, LK, and PA.
  • The introduction of any new subtest will happen in a gradual way, and subtests that show the students’ strengths will remain available for a longer period of time.
  • What new subtests might be introduced throughout the year?
  • As an example, the chart below shows how subtests are added and removed for kindergarten:
    Grade LC VOC LK PA AD CMP SPL TF
    Kinder (BOY) X X X X        
    > Gate 1 X X X X X      
    > Gate 2   X   X X X    
On Demand Assessments
  • What are best practices for Istation On Demand assessments in Massachusetts?
  • Istation’s Indicators of Progress (ISIP) serves as a universal screener and progress-monitoring tool. The process for screening and progress monitoring is the same. When students log on to Istation for the first time, they receive an ISIP assessment. The assessment screens the skill areas that predict later reading success. Then on a monthly basis, ISIP automatically progress monitors students in these skill areas when they log in. Because of ISIP’s extensive item bank, students receive a different set of items each time they are progress monitored. The difficulty level of the items they see is based on their responses. The automatic monthly progress monitoring provides eight to ten data points over the course of one school year.
  • Istation provides an On Demand feature for the administration of assessments as well. The On Demand feature may be used in the event that the teacher believes the results of the assessment are inaccurate. In other words, the student did not perform his or her best due to incidents such as illness or if a fire drill or an emergency evacuation occurs during testing.
  • Some MTSS implementations require even more frequent progress monitoring for students (i.e., SAT or students on an IEP) performing significantly below grade level. Istation’s On Demand feature may be used in this scenario as well. For example, a student who is performing significantly below grade level may be progress monitored every two weeks or bi-monthly in a particular skill area being targeted by the teacher. Specifically, a kindergarten teacher might select the Phonological & Phonemic Awareness subtest to be given on demand. This On Demand feature allows teachers the opportunity to check the effectiveness of the instruction offered to the student more frequently.
  • Does Istation caution against over-assessing students?
  • Progress monitoring in all subtests every two weeks would take away from valuable time needed to address the instructional needs of the student.
  • The On Demand assessment feature may be used at any time during the Istation progress monitoring windows to best meet the needs of teachers and students in identifying specific subtests to plan instruction.
  • How do I monitor progress with Istation?
  • Students who score Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 on the BOY assessment should be progress monitored monthly. Level 5 and Level 4 students will be assessed for BOY, MOY, and EOY. Monitoring student progress toward instructional objectives is an effective and efficient way to determine if the instructional plan is working. Ongoing progress monitoring allows teachers to make data-based decisions about the effectiveness of their instruction. As progress monitoring is required for Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 students, it is recommended for all students.
  • How are On Demand assessments administered?
  • On Demand Assessments are available for both the ISIP Reading and ISIP Español users.
    1. After logging in, select the Classroom tab at the top of the page.
    2. From the left menu, select On Demand Assessments.
    3. Select the product you wish to test and mark the box for the subtest(s) to be administered to each student.
    4. Math On Demand feature only allows for an additional progress monitoring of the math assessment. This feature is recommended if there was an irregularity at the time of testing.
  • How does ISIP Reading adapt and why does that matter to On Demand best practices?
  • ISIP is adaptive in two distinct ways. The first is at the item level. Based on a student’s response, the system automatically chooses the next appropriate item. If the student answers correctly, the next item is slightly more difficult. If the student answers incorrectly, the next item is slightly less difficult. This allows the assessment to quickly pinpoint a student’s ability level in a skill.
  • The second adaptive feature is the use of subtests (see table below). Certain subtests occur automatically for a student based on grade level. However, students do not continue to receive subtests in which they show proficiency over time. For example, a 1st grader who has shown consistent proficiency in letter knowledge will no longer receive that subtest.
  • Also to further identify a student’s area of need, subtests may appear automatically. For example, a student in 1st or 2nd grade who performs significantly below grade level may automatically receive one or more of the following subtests: Alphabetic Decoding, Letter Knowledge, and Phonemic Awareness. The teacher does not have to assign these additional subtests; the computer-adaptive feature will do it automatically. In fact, assigning these subtests when they are not necessary can lower a student’s overall ability score.
  • Once a student’s grade indicates — or the student shows — that he or she is developmentally ready for reading comprehension, spelling, and text fluency, then these skills, along with vocabulary, are continuously monitored throughout the year.
  • Grade Subtests
    * Fluency is not used in determining the Overall Reading ability index.
    Prekindergarten Letter Knowledge
    Vocabulary
    Listening Comprehension
    Phonological/Phonemic Awareness
    Kindergarten Listening Comprehension
    Phonemic Awareness
    Letter Knowledge
    Vocabulary
    Oral Reading Fluency*
    1st Grade Phonemic Awareness
    Letter Knowledge
    Vocabulary
    Alphabetic Decoding
    Reading Comprehension
    Spelling
    Text Fluency*
    Oral Reading Fluency*
    2nd and 3rd Grade Vocabulary
    Reading Comprehension
    Spelling
    Text Fluency*
    Oral Reading Fluency*
    4th — 12th Grade Word Analysis
    Text Fluency*
    Vocabulary
    Reading Comprehension
Assessment Accommodations
  • Should English Learners (ELs) be allowed extra time on the Istation ISIP Reading assessments?
  • The accommodations should be determined on a case-by-case basis and justified by the student’s English language proficiency level in each of the four domains: reading, listening, writing, and speaking.
  • Processing in a second language takes extra time. Thus, if a student is taking ISIP Reading or ISIP Español in his or her second language, extended time is an allowable accommodation determined by your district.
Assessment Guidance for English Learners (ELs)
  • Is a Spanish version of the K–5 reading formative assessment available?
  • Yes. ISIP Reading is available in Spanish for K-5. The ISIP Español assessment is an authentic Spanish assessment based on sound standards from research and educational testing. ISIP Español provides growth information in the five critical domains of reading: phonemic awareness, alphabetic knowledge and skills, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
  • Does ISIP Español provide resources and tools for teachers?
  • ISIP Español provides teachers and other school personnel with easy-to-interpret, web-based reports that detail student strengths and learning needs and provide links to teacher resources for English and Spanish instruction. Use of the data allows teachers to more easily make informed decisions regarding each student’s response to targeted reading instruction and intervention strategies.
  • I am a teacher in a Spanish dual language program. The program is a 90/10 model; this means that in kindergarten, 90 percent of instruction is in Spanish, and 10 percent of instruction is in English. The proportion of Spanish instruction to English instruction decreases until students receive 50 percent of instruction in both languages (usually by the fourth grade). So during grades K–2, students receive the majority of their language arts instruction in Spanish. Many of my students are ELs, some are former ELs, and others are native English speakers learning Spanish as a second language. What assessment should I use for my students?
  • The decision regarding what Istation assessment to use (ISIP Reading or ISIP Español) for a student should be based on what assessment would most accurately represent the student’s learning considering the instruction received. According to assessment and instruction research, students should be assessed in the language in which they receive the most instruction. Thus, students who receive the majority of their language arts instruction in Spanish should be assessed in Spanish.
  • Best practice suggests that all relevant stakeholders—teachers and parents—should have some part in local decision-making. Ultimately, the decision will be made locally by each district.
  • I am a teacher in a Spanish dual language program. The program is a 50/50 model; this means that students receive 50 percent of instruction in English and 50 percent of instruction in Spanish. So students receive half of their language arts instruction in Spanish from the beginning of the program (kindergarten). Many of my students are ELs, some are former ELs, and others are native English speakers learning Spanish as a second language. Should I use both assessments for my students?
  • The decision regarding what Istation assessment to use (ISIP Reading or ISIP Español) for a student should be based on what assessment would most accurately represent the student’s learning considering the instruction received. Though both assessments are not required, whether or not both are used will be a local decision.
  • Best practice suggests that all relevant stakeholders—teachers and parents—should have some part in local decision-making. Ultimately, the decision will be made locally by each district.
  • A student new to the U.S. and the state will be enrolling in our school this year. The student comes from a Spanish-speaking country. He will receive all instruction in English. What assessment should I give him?
  • The decision regarding what Istation assessment to use (ISIP Reading or ISIP Español) for a student should be based on what assessment would most accurately represent the student’s learning considering the instruction received. However, it may be helpful to assess the student in Spanish to determine what literacy skills the student already possesses, since many skills are known to transfer between languages. This information can be used to inform instructional practices and design interventions, should they be necessary. Ultimately, the decision will be made locally by each district.
  • Should students whose first language is Spanish be allowed extra time on the Istation ISIP Español?
  • No. An extended time accommodation is appropriate (when it is also necessary and consistent with daily instructional accommodations) for a student taking an assessment in his or her second language. Just as native English speakers receiving daily instruction in English do not receive extended time accommodations (without an IEP) for assessments taken in English, native Spanish speakers receiving instruction in Spanish do not receive extended time accommodations for assessments taken in Spanish.
  • Should native English speakers learning Spanish as a second language be allowed extra time on the ISIP Español?
  • Yes. If the students are being administered ISIP Español because they are receiving the majority of their language arts instruction in Spanish, they should be allowed extra time.
  • What accommodations apply to students taking both ISIP Reading and ISIP Español?
  • In the event a district decides to have students participating in a dual language program take both assessments, then students should be allowed extended time for the assessment administered in their second language only.
  • Note: Not all second language learners need this accommodation. Accommodations provided during assessment should be consistent with accommodations provided during daily classroom instruction.
  • Does a student have to take the Istation test in the same language throughout the academic school year?
  • We do recommend continuing the same testing throughout the year. This will allow a teacher to see growth in student achievement throughout the school year and help the teacher guide and adjust interventions.
  • Additionally, testing in both English and Spanish can help teachers identify certain skill sets in which a whole group of students might need extra help, and it can provide teachers the opportunity to strengthen their teaching practices in both languages.
  • Is the Istation assessment available in other languages?
  • The assessment is computer adaptive; it will adjust to any student’s knowledge or level of reading in English and/or Spanish. Math is available in English only at this time.
Technical Information
  • Does Istation need to be downloaded and installed on every computer in the school?
  • Istation will need to be installed on every computer on which students will be using Istation.
  • Is there an easy way for my technical staff to install the software quickly on all computers?
  • Yes. Istation has an MSI that can help install Istation quickly on computers in your district. For assistance with this, you can view the “Setting Up Istation” video in our Help Center or call 1-214-237-9300 and select option 2. In addition, your technical team can watch the technical informational webinar to help answer any questions they may have.
  • Is ISIP tablet-accessible?
  • Yes. All ISIP assessments are available on iPads and can be accessed through the Chromebook mobile browser.
  • Using the iPad or Chromebook mobile browser, subscribers still have Web-based access to:
    • Istation Reading and Math assessments
    • The Istation Report and Management Website, including Teacher Resources, the Help Center, the Report Toolbox, the Istation User’s Guide, Lexile®—Find A Book, and Quantile Measures
  • How does my computer need to be set up to use the program?
  • Please see the Download and Technical Info Web page at https://www.istation.com/Support.
  • Where can I download the Istation Reading program?
  • To download the Istation program, visit the Istation Download and Technical Info page at https://www.istation.com/Support.
  • What should I do if I forget my password?
  • Go to Istation’s Reset Password Request Web page
  • How do I log in?
  • Watch this video for details about logging in to the customer Web site.
  • What is my domain name?
  • We use a domain name to identify your district or school in Istation. The domain is linked to your school name. Type the name of your school in the domain field and select the matching domain name from the list of options.
  • If you need to change your domain name, please click the "Change School" icon. You will have the option to edit your domain name.
  • My students are having login problems. The program indicates that students are logged in, but they are not. What should I do?
  • If you know which computer a student used most recently, restart that computer. This will break the connection to Istation servers and allow that student to log in elsewhere. If you do not know this information or have tried restarting with no results, call Istation Technical Support (1-214-237-9300, option 2) when the student is ready to log in, and we can provide one-on-one assistance.
  • A “login failure” error message appears on the computer screen when a student tries to log in. What should I do?
  • Follow these steps:
    • Confirm that your student is logging in to the student curriculum application. The Imagination Station, the student curriculum application, must be loaded on the computer a student is using in order for the student to access the customized student content. Look for the Imagination Station icon on the computer desktop and double-click to launch the student curriculum application.
    • Next, confirm that the student’s school is listed correctly above the username and password fields.
    • Finally, confirm that the student is entering the username and the password as they appear on the login card. When entering passwords, please make sure Caps Lock is not enabled on the laptop or computer keyboard. As you type, the text may appear to be in caps on the screen, but it is not as long as Caps Lock is not enabled.
  • Can I troubleshoot student login problems any other way?
  • If a student is having login problems, ask him or her to log in using a different computer.
  • If the problem is limited to one machine:
    • Try hardwiring the computer to the Internet by connecting an Ethernet cable from the Ethernet port on the computer to an Ethernet port on a router or in the wall.
    • Try having the student log in again.
    • Try restarting the computer.
    • Try reinstalling the program on that one computer. (Note: If you do not have administrative authorization, you will need to contact someone on your campus or in your district who does in order to accomplish this.)
    If the login problems occur on multiple computers and/or for multiple students:
    • Run a test using our Firewall Configuration Test utility to confirm that the district firewall is allowing access. (If it is, the computer should post the confirmation message "ok".)
    • If possible, confirm that any district content filtering allows the Istation IP address range (174.143.0.184—174.143.0.191 [174.143.0.184/29] and 184.106.6.73—184.106.6.75 [184.106.6.73/32, 184.106.6.74/31]), TCP ports 12500 through 12509, and Istation.com. Network content filtering can cause some content or data to be blocked for certain students.
    • Try using a different student’s login information on the same computer to see whether the same issue occurs.
    • Try visiting a site that a student wouldn’t normally visit, such as a grocery or hardware store Website, to determine whether the computer has a good connection to the Internet.
    • Check with the technology staff at your school or in your district to confirm that the program has been installed using administrative rights and that the Istation directory has read/write access.
    • Call Istation technical support at 1-214-237-9300 and select option 2.
  • A student is having problems with the sound on the Istation lessons. What should I do?
  • Try updating your sound drivers. Keep in mind that the Istation program requires speakers or headphones to launch.
  • Where can I find information on system requirements and technical specs?
  • For information on system requirements and technical specs, visit the Technical Information Web page.
  • My students are unable to connect to the Internet. What should I do?
  • This usually indicates that there is a problem with the connection between your computers and the Istation servers. Try the following:
    • Visit another Web site that is not cached in your system (a site that students are unlikely to have logged on to from school, such as a car manufacturer site, usa.gov, etc.) to determine whether the computer has a good connection to the Internet.
    • If you can’t log on to another site, confirm that district content filtering allows the Istation IP address range (174.143.0.184—174.143.0.191 [174.143.0.184/29] and 184.106.6.73—184.106.6.75 [184.106.673/72, 184.106.6.74/31], TCP ports 12500 through 12509, and Istation.com. Also confirm that there is not any software installed on the computer that might be preventing it from connecting to the Internet.

Last Updated: November 9, 2020