Wyoming's assessment system measures students' progress toward the Wyoming Content Standards. It is used to enhance teaching and learning, support school improvement, and to provide data for accountability to help ensure the effectiveness of schools, programs, and staff. When used in conjunction with a school district's annual assessment program, statewide assessments provide the information needed to develop and implement strategies for improvement of student performance.
The Wyoming Statewide Assessment System is comprised of:
- Elementary and Middle Grades Assessments (grades 3-8)
- The Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students, PAWS, is a summative assessment in reading, mathematics, and science. The PAWS in reading and mathematics is administered once a year in grades 3-8. The PAWS science assessment is administered in grades 4 and 8.
- The PAWS-Alternate (PAWS-ALT) is given once a year to students with significant cognitive disabilities in grades 3-8 in reading and mathematics and in grades 4 and 8 in science.
- The Student Assessment of Writing Skills, SAWS, is a summative writing assessment administered once a year in grades 3-8 (2013 only).
- SAWS-ALT is for students with significant cognitive disabilities in grades 3-8 (2013 only).
- Beginning in the spring of 2014, SAWS and SAWS-ALT will be administered in grades 3, 5, and 7 only.
- High School Assessments (grades 9-12)
- EXPLORE is the initial assessment of the ACT College and Career Readiness System. It assesses students' achievement in English, math, reading, and science. This assessment will be administered to all 9th graders for the first time in the spring of 2013.
- PLAN is the second assessment of the ACT College and Career Readiness System, and it is administered once a year to all 10th graders. It assesses students' achievement in English, math, reading, and science.
- ACT Plus Writing is the capstone of the ACT College and Career Readiness System. It measures students' general learning outcomes in English, math, reading, writing, and science. This assessment is given once a year to all students in the 11th grade.
- WorkKeys is an optional assessment in grades 11 and 12 in 2013 and grade 11 in 2014, and is used to assess a student's job skills. In prior years, WorkKeys was available as a substitute to the ACT; however, it can no longer be substituted per state statute.
- PAWS-ALT and SAWS-ALT are given once a year to students with significant cognitive disabilities in grade 11. An alternate assessment will be developed for grades 9, 10 and 12.
- COMPASS is an optional computer-adaptive college placement assessment. Students are to be given the opportunity to take this assessment at least one (1) time during their senior year.
- English Proficiency Assessments
- The ACCESS for ELLs® is required once a year with all students who are English language learners. It assesses students' progress in attaining English proficiency.
In addition to the statewide assessment system, Wyoming schools and students also participate in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation's Report Card, every other year. The next administration of the NAEP is in 2013.