Wyoming wants to replace its standardized tests with something new, and lawmakers met in Casper Thursday to hear recommendations from a statewide testing task force.

The group presented before the Legislature’s Select Committee on Statewide Education Accountability. The final task force report calls for end-of-year testing in third through 10th grade that takes up no more than one percent of class time. They want a test that can be taken online and is offered in more than one state.


A State Board of Education task force report is calling for a standardized testing system that better aligns with Wyoming’s content standards. It also recommends that Wyoming adopt a test that is used by more than one state, to allow for more comparison.

Wyoming is looking at replacing its current year-end test, PAWS, with something new. The task force has met 7 times since June to study testing needs.

The group wants a unified testing system for third through 10th grade, rather than PAWS for grade-schoolers and the ACT in 11th grade.

Wyoming Department of Education

Three years after Wyoming adopted the Common Core State Standards for English language arts and math, schools here are still struggling to teach to the new standards. That’s according to survey results released this week by the Wyoming Department of Education.

Only about 1,000 teachers, 54 principals and 28 curriculum directors responded to the department’s survey. WDE acknowledged the response rate was low, but the information is helpful.

Flickr Creative Commons

Results released Thursday by the Wyoming Department of Education show that students performed worse on this year’s standardized test than they did last year.

The Proficiency Assessment for Wyoming Students—or PAWS—measures students’ aptitude in math, reading and science.  The test is taken by students in grades 3 through 8.

Last year, 58 percent of fourth-graders scored proficient on reading. This year, less than 52 percent did. Math scores didn’t drop as sharply as reading—and actually rose slightly for some grade levels.

As kids across Wyoming take the Proficiency Assessment for Wyoming Students—or PAWS—test this month, the State Board of Education is looking for input on the future of statewide testing.

With the adoption of the Common Core State Standards, the state needs to decide what test it will use to gauge student learning down the line. Board member Sue Belish says lawmakers asked the State Board to play a role.

Test results released Monday by the Wyoming Department of Education show huge drops across the board in the percentage of Wyoming students meeting proficiency for end-of-year state assessments.

For example, just 46 percent of third graders scored “proficient or advanced” on the math portion of the Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students—or PAWS test. That’s compared to 84 percent in the previous school year.

Wyoming's assessment system could use a tweak

Aug 20, 2013

Wyoming’s new Director of Education would like to make some changes to how the state uses assessment tests for students. 

Right now the tests take place in the spring and the results of those tests are not available until the fall.  Education Director Rich Crandall would like to speed that up, so that teachers can implement the results to better help students.

Wyoming saw a drop in standardized test scores this year.

Third-through-eighth graders saw average scores on the Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students – or PAWS – drop by up to seven points in Reading, Math and Science.

Still, the Wyoming Department of Education’s Director of Assessment, Deb Lindsey, says the drops are not statistically significant.

Lindsey says the state introduced higher testing standards last year, pushing some subject matter to earlier grade levels, and asking more from the students overall.

The U.S. Department of Education has informed the Wyoming Department of Education that it should continue administering the state Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students -- or PAWS -- test for high school juniors next year.

The Wyoming Legislature earlier this year directed the state Education Department to discontinue the PAWS test for juniors and to use results from the ACT instead.

The Wyoming Department of Education recently released the Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students – or PAWS – results. In reading, the state improved by about 2 percentage points, but the Arapahoe School on the Wind River Reservation, which serves 350 Native American students, jumped an average of 13 points.

The Wyoming Department of Education has released the 2012 Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students – or PAWS - results. For the second year in a row, the results indicate a statewide rise in scores in math, reading, and science.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Cindy Hill, did not point to specific policies or efforts made by the Wyoming Department of Education, but rather said the results were due to a team effort.

A new report from the Wyoming Children’s Action Alliance says between 2005 and 2010, the number of children living in poverty jumped from 11 percent to 14 percent. Marc Homer is with the Children’s Action Alliance. He says the biggest spike came in 2009 and 10 when the nations recession began to catch up to the state, and childhood poverty jumped from 13 percent to 19 percent.

“Certainly I think it’s the recession that’s hit the United States and its impacted Wyoming,” says Homer. “So we’re seeing a slowing of the economy and this trickles down to families in our communities.”