Assessment Newsletter (Volume 4 Issue 6)

Update from the Wyoming Department of Education  |  view online |  website


February 12, 2016  |  WDE Assessment Updates  |  Volume 4, Issue 6


At the end of February, the WDE will post information in the Assessment Newsletter for teachers to apply for a position on a teacher panel for this summer’s PAWS workshops in Sheridan. Panel positions are open to any Wyoming teachers only. Panel members will be selected to join educators from around the state in reviewing test questions and test data that will guide the development of PAWS. Please continue to watch this newsletter for further information.

2016 PAWS Released Test Questions

The 2016 Released Test Questions (RTQs) for PAWS reading, math, and science are currently available on the website. Please use these new release questions along with the older ones as samples of how individual domains may be addressed on the assessment. These resources can be found on the PAWS page. To access the RTQs, scroll down to Materials By Grade; select a grade level; then select the items to be viewed based upon subject and release date.


Thank you for your attendance and participation in the Wyoming PAWS Building Coordinator Training. We had a great turn out and appreciate all of the work our testing coordinators do in this state to ensure a secure and successfully implemented statewide assessment. For anyone wishing to review the training and/or for those of you who missed the opportunity to receive this training face-to-face, please visit the 2016 Administration Manuals webpage to view a recording of the content from one session. The video is divided into 3 sections: Before Testing, During Testing, and After Testing. Please note that the 2016 PAWS Test Administrator Training PowerPoint is available on this page for use, as well.



Earlier this week WDE and ACT provided a refresher of the Wyoming Aspire Technology Readiness Training webinar for the ACT Aspire assessment. Now that schools have been established and are currently working on the infrastructure trial, this video outlines the next steps for Tech Directors and Building Coordinators. 

Assessment Watch Video Button


ACT has implemented various changes in their writing assessment from the assessment’s overall design to the way the results are scored. The writing prompt is still an exercise in argumentative writing; however, the format of the prompt now focuses on a response to three different viewpoints rather than a for-and-against situation. It will be scored by domain rather than a single holistic rubric. 



If you are administering WorkKeys online, there are a number of suggested training webinars available to assist Test Coordinators and Test Administrators with that transition.

ACT WorkKeys Test Administration Training for Online Testing Webinar (Duration: 1 hr.)

Feb. 24 (2 pm), March 11 (1 pm), April 1 (10 am), or April 12 (1 pm)

This webinar is intended for new test coordinators and proctors administering the online version of ACT WorkKeys. 

Register here: WorkKeys Test Administration Training for Online Testing

ACT WorkKeys Groups and Batch Load Training for Online Testing Webinar (Duration: 1 hr.)

Feb. 19 (2 pm), March 29 (1 pm), or  April 15 (2 pm)

This training will cover using "Groups" and/or "Batch Loading" as part of the ACT WorkKeys online test administration process. 

Register here: ACT WorkKeys Groups and Batch Load Training for Online Testing


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Consistent with last year’s practice, WDE will be accepting exemption requests in the following three categories:

  • Students who are expelled (or suspended pending expulsion) but still receiving services from the district,
  • Students who are served in out of state placements, and
  • Students who are ELLs who have been in US schools for less than a year (students must participate in the ACCESS in order to receive the exemption, and they are still required to participate in math (and science, if applicable)

The updated WDE673 form can be found here. To ensure confidentiality of these sensitive materials, the only method for submission of the WDE673 form and associated documentation is via the Wyoming Transcript Center. Faxes and mail are not acceptable methods of submission. Step-by-step instructions for the upload process can be found here.  

Exemption requests will be accepted and processed through the following dates:

  • PAWS:  March 18, 2016
  • Wy-ALT:  March 18, 2016
  • ACT and Aspire:  April 19, 2016

Additional 2016 Administration Materials are available at the following link.


Transporting Testing Material Procedures

School staff are responsible for ensuring maximum student participation in the statewide assessment system. School staff are also responsible for ensuring test security. As noted in the PAWS Building Coordinator’s Manual, district staff may transport test booklets between buildings (including to a student’s home) with approval from the Wyoming Department of Education to facilitate student participation in exceptional circumstances. In order to grant approval, WDE will need to review and approve the process the district or school will implement while moving the testing materials in question. This process should include:

1. An assessment calendar which identifies the administration dates and testing locations and names of Test Administrators (TAs)

2. The processes that ensure the security of PAWS materials while being distributed, transported, and re-collected/returned

3. Practices that ensure the optimal test environments for students


4. Any accommodations required for addressing needs of students with disabilities 

Please note: Students are never responsible for transporting test materials.

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Discrimination Parameter

The property that indicates how accurately an item distinguishes between examinees of high ability and those of low ability on the trait being measured. An item that can be answered equally well by examinees of low and high ability does not discriminate well and does not give any information about relative levels of performance. 


  • February 16: Wy-ALT Additional Pre-ID Window and Ordering Window Opens
  • February 16: Test Security Webinar
  • February 18: Test Security Webinar
  • February 29: Wy-ALT Testing Window Opens
  • March 7: PAWS Testing Window Opens
  • March 11: Last Day to Return ACCESS for ELLS Materials
  • March 29-30: Assessment Literacy and Formative Assessment Resource Development Training - Casper 
  • March 30: Last Day to Ship PAWS Materials
  • April 11 - 14: ACT: Test Coordinator Receives Secure Shipment of Testing Materials
  • April 11: ACT Aspire Testing Window Opens
  • April 11: ACT COMPASS Testing Window Opens
  • April 12: District Assessment Development for Elementary Educators - Riverton
  • April 13: District Assessment Development for Secondary Educators - Riverton
  • April 19: ACT Test Administration  
  • April 19: ACT WorkKeys Testing Window Opens
  • April 26: ELA and Social Studies District Assessment Development Training - Green River
  • April 27: Math/Science/STEM/CTE District Assessment Development Training - Green River
  • May 2: ELA and Social Studies District  Assessment Development Training - Sheridan