Assessment Newsletter (Volume 8, Issue 34)

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

WDE Assessment Updates

04-09-2021|  Volume 8, Issue 34


Training Tests, Modulars, Interims, & Summatives

  • Training Tests are assessments created to help students and users become familiar with the platform and items. These assessments may also be used to practice assessment set up and administration. 
  • Modulars and Interim assessments are domain specific and mini-summative in nature. They are secure for all testing. However, teachers may review the items and student responses to gain further knowledge about student performance. These assessments were built to measure student progress during the year as they work towards the end-of-the-year content goals that are tested with the summative test administration.
  • Summative assessments are fully secure. Only students have access to the items during the test administration. These assessments are an end-of-year snapshot of student learning and used for school improvement.


Survey to be Given to Students at the End of Testing

  • This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a survey to be taken by every student after they finish their content assessments.The survey will show up as a separate test opportunity. 
  • The survey is intended to gather further data to help the department validate, to the best of its abilities, the impact of COVID-19 on student learning.
  • Test Administrators, be sure and have the students take this survey following the last subject matter assessment.

For more information, contact Jessica Steinbrenner, WDE Assessment Team Supervisor, at 307-777-8568 or


Additional resources are available on the WY-TOPP Portal.


Test security is important for all assessments. Any violation of test security, whether intended or accidental, can compromise our ability to make inferences about student performance on state assessments. The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) emphasizes proactive practices — before, during, and after testing — as the primary method of ensuring test security. Following appropriate procedures regarding preparing for testing, handling test booklets, and administering tests is fundamental to ensuring public confidence in the results we report. Reference the Testing Materials Security document for details. 

In preparation for the WY-TOPP Summative window, which opens on April 13, review with staff the Assessment Security Training slides, WY-TOPP Test Administration Manual, and the Assessment Best Practices guidance.


Before Testing

  • Have a clear plan for disseminating student login information (i.e., student usernames and passwords). 
  • Make sure all applications and systems are set up prior to testing. 
  • Test out the system wherever possible to manage issues early. 
  • Take down or cover any content that may provide added advantages on the assessment, such as: word walls, timelines, and number lines. 
  • Become familiar with the Test Administrator User Guide
  • Become familiar with the Test Administration Manual
  • Encourage students to get a good night's rest and eat a good breakfast. 
  • Encourage students to take the test seriously as the data will support learning improvements.
  • Create a test schedule that includes make-up days. Suggested testing times are available in the Summative Test Administration Manual and are useful for helping schools develop test schedules.  

During Testing

  • Test earlier in the day to allow time for test administration and for those who may take longer to complete a content area. This is also when students are more alert and may, therefore, be more engaged and successful.
  • Do not break up individual tests, as students build upon knowledge as they progress. 
  • Test early during the window, where possible, to allow for the resolution of concerns and for make-up testing. 
  • Have scratch paper and pencils available for use, as students may want to work out math problems or map out their writing. This is allowable, but materials must be collected and securely destroyed at the end of testing. 
  • Keep usernames and passwords secure. Just like scratch paper, this is to be collected and securely destroyed at the end of testing. 
  • Actively monitor the testing environment during testing to make sure students are on task. 
  • Try to limit internet and intranet usage throughout the building during testing. 
  • Ensure students have enough room to work without distractions. 
  • Deliver interim and summative assessments in the same test setting whenever possible. 
  • Ensure that test security measures are followed, including discussing test questions and handling secure test materials.

After Testing

  • Review reported results with students.
  • Dispose of scratch paper and any testing tickets securely.

For more information, contact Jessica Steinbrenner at 307-777-8568 or


It is very important to maintain test item security before, during, and after test administration of any state-provided testing. The WDE suggests that schools communicate a strict policy for communication devices during testing.

  • For schools that do not have a cell phone or communication device policy, here is an example of a communication device policy that can be read or distributed to faculty, staff, and students during testing.
  • Please remember "devices" include testing computers.
  • This means no screenshots or recordings via the testing device, or any device, by students or school district employees.
  • Please note that smart watches and other smart technology are devices prohibited during testing.


Use the Student Not Tested Form (SNTF)

To ensure the validity and reliability of the state assessments, there will not be any remote testing options. To accommodate guardians who do not want their students in person at a school or a testing site due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools should report these circumstances using the Student Not Tested Form (SNTF) for WY-TOPP/WY-ALT. This must be submitted by the end of the assessment window. The SNTF can be found in the district-designated Google Folder previously shared with district Assessment Coordinators, or a downloadable spreadsheet can be found here. Have your Assessment Coordinator upload the document into the district-designated Google folder after it has been completed.

Reminder: It is important to test as many students as possible, with safety being the top priority.

For more information, contact Jessica Steinbrenner at 307-777-8568 or


WY-TOPP Submissions Accepted: January 13-April 27, 2021

  • On behalf of a student, school administrators may apply for an exemption from participation in the WY-TOPP for the following criteria:
    • The student is expelled for the entire testing window.
    • The student is an English Learner who has been enrolled in a U.S. school for less than one year. (Exemption from the ELA portion only. ACCESS test must be taken).
    • The student is placed in an out-of-state facility for the entire testing window.

Submit an exemption with this direct link to the SAER webpage.


Any homeschool student who receives services or classes at a district school should already be a part of the nightly upload as a primary enrolled student with the homeschool indicator. In order to identify homeschool students not enrolled within the student information system, the WDE must collect information to associate them with a school in TIDE. The WDE687 collection will be used to collect information on homeschool students not served by a school district. This collection will open April 8, one week prior to the testing window. 

The collection will be submitted through the DCS (Data Collection Suite). The WDE687 Certify role will need to be assigned to the WyEd User account of the person submitting the roster. To access the data collection form, guidebook, and error report go to the Forms Inventory Page and click on the arrow to the left of the WDE687 and then to the  Documents tab.


Results: Wyoming Tops in the U.S. for In-Person Instruction During COVID

  • Wyoming is leading the nation with the highest percentage of students enrolled for in-person instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the initial results of the 2021 NAEP School Survey for January. The survey is a representative monthly sampling of 7,000 public elementary and middle schools across the U.S. with grade four and eight students, across 90 schools in Wyoming.
  • Mapping of grade four results for in-person instruction indicate the following:
NAEP map 4.9.21
  • Survey results show that 90% of Wyoming’s fourth graders and 82% of its eighth graders were enrolled in full time, in-person instruction. Both instances are statistically higher than all other states with reportable results in the study during January:
NAEP chart 1 4.9.21NAEP chart 2 4.9.21
  • These data are notable as the country strives to recover from the COVID pandemic and reopen its schools. Full details of the NAEP survey and study are available online at
  • The WDE is grateful and appreciative for the support each month from district leaders and their technical personnel and from the 90 Wyoming school’s principals and building coordinators for their continuing collaboration and diligence on this survey. 
  • Survey response rate from these districts and schools was 100% for the January reporting period; without their efforts and support, Wyoming results in this study are simply not possible. 

For more information, contact Will Donkersgoed Ph.D, Wyoming NAEP State Coordinator, at 307-777-5133 or


  • September 1-June 18: WY-TOPP Modulars.
  • January 13-April 27: SAER System Open to Accept WY-TOPP Exemption Requests.
  • March 2-April 23: WY-ALT Assessments.
  • April 6-9, 12-16: ACT Test Dates for Paper Accommodated.
  • April 13-May 7: WY-TOPP Spring K-2 Interims.
  • April 13-May 7: WY-TOPP Summative Assessments, grades 3-10.
  • April 19-30: WorkKeys Test Administration Window.
  • April 20: ACT Paper Test.
  • April 20-23, 26-30: ACT Test Dates for Paper Accommodated.
  • April 20-22, 27-29:ACT Online Test Dates.
  • April 27: WIDA Screener for Kindergarten Q&A Webinar.