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PAWS Scores Drop With Revamped Test And New Standards

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.

But 2013-2014 assessments set greater expectations for students, and state officials say that the drop was expected. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill says scores are lower because this a new test, aligned to a new set of standards. 

"So this test is fully aligned to the Common Core standards, where the tests prior were aligned to the Wyoming State Standards—and that’s one of the significant changes," Hill said. 

The proficiency scale was also shifted, further raising the bar.

State Assessment director Deb Lindsey says there will be a period of adjustment in the short-term, but more students are expected to meet the new, higher expectations over time.  

The PAWS tests all students in grades 3 through 8 in reading and math. It’s yet to be determined what test Wyoming will use at the end of this school year to measure student learning.

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