Although test results are only one measure of student achievement, they have become increasingly important in assessing student learning. In 2007-2008 Wyoming used the Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students (PAWS) to measure student achievement in grades 3 through 8 and 11 in reading, math and writing, and in grades 4, 8 and 11 in science. The PAWS is a standards-based test that measures how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Wyoming.

How are the tests scored?

PAWS results show the level of proficiency a student demonstrates in each of the subject areas tested. Students are rated at one of four performance levels: novice, partially proficient, proficient and advanced. The goal is for all students to score at or above the proficient level on the test.

Which results are included on GreatSchools profiles?

For each subject on the PAWS test, the combined percentage of students scoring at or above the proficient level is displayed.

Why do the tests matter?

PAWS scores play an important role in evaluating school accountability. While PAWS scores do not affect grade-level promotion or retention, individual school districts may implement academic improvement plans for under-performing students. The PAWS is also used by teachers to identify students who need additional assistance.

It is important to be aware of both your child’s score on the assessments and the overall scores for his school. If your child scores below the standards, contact his teacher to discuss getting additional assistance, and to find out how you can support your child’s learning at home.

If the school’s overall scores are low, ask what steps the school is taking to raise achievement levels for all students, and what you as a parent can do to help. If your child is in a failing school, ask what your options are for obtaining supplemental services or for transferring to a higher-performing school.

A few parting words

Although test results can be an indicator of what’s happening in the classroom, they don’t tell you everything about the quality of a particular school. Always look at more than one measure when judging school performance and visit in person before making any final assessment.

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Updated: March 8, 2016