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Wyoming Places Kindergarten In Statewide Assessment


State law requires 85 percent of Wyoming students to read at or above “proficient” by the time they are in third grade – that’s the ability to comprehend and analyze a text.


The way educators determine if they are making progress and meeting students’ needs is by giving annual assessments and looking an individual student data. And beginning this year, the tests given to students in kindergarten through tenth grade will be part of one integrated system, replacing the three different assessments used previously.


Nick Whynott, State Department of Education early learning supervisor, said the new system is called WY-TOPP. He said this change is exciting because it means districts have access to more consistent data that more accurately reflects progress over time.

“The thing we are most excited for from the state is it is all going to be the WY-TOPP, so you are not going to be comparing apples to oranges and having to do crosswalks to see how different assessments align to each other,” Whynott said. “It’s going to be essentially speaking the same language from kindergarten to tenth grade.”


Initially WY-TOPP was not going to include kindergarten, but Whynott said, “We saw this opportunity to include kindergarten and we went for it.”


For those who are hesitant about the idea of giving such young kids standardized tests, Whynott said, schools use what they learn to directly support students.


Tennessee -- despite what the name might make you think -- was born and raised in the Northeast. She most recently called Vermont home. For the last 15 years she's been making radio -- as a youth radio educator, documentary producer, and now reporter. Her work has aired on Reveal, The Heart, LatinoUSA, Across Women's Lives from PRI, and American RadioWorks. One of her ongoing creative projects is co-producing Wage/Working (a jukebox-based oral history project about workers and income inequality). When she's not reporting, Tennessee likes to go on exploratory running adventures with her mutt Murray.
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