Proficiency Assessment for Wyoming Students (PAWS) (page 2)
Statewide Assessment System
The Wyoming Statewide Assessment System measures student achievement of the Wyoming Content and Performance Standards and the extended Wyoming Academic Content Standards and Academic Benchmarks for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, and student achievement of the English Language Proficiency Standards.
The Wyoming Statewide Assessment System is intended to provide a measure of accountability to enhance teaching and learning in Wyoming and, in combination with other measures and information, assist school districts in determining individual student progress. The assessment results are reported to students, parents, schools, school districts and the public in an accurate, complete and timely manner and are to be used in conjunction with a school district's annual assessment to design educational strategies for improvement and enhancement of student performance.
The Wyoming Statewide Assessment System is comprised of:
A. The PAWS summative assessments in reading, writing and mathematics, which are administered once a year in grades 3-8, 10 and 11; and the PAWS summative assessment in science in grades 4, 8, and 11. B. The PAWS-ALT summative alternate assessment in reading, writing and mathematics administered once a year in grades 3-8 and 11, and summative assessments in science in grades 4, 8, and 11. C. The Access for ELLs® is administered once a year at all grades. Information on PAWS, PAWS-ALT and ACCESS for ELL’s, including details for each of the components, guidelines for participation, the Wyoming Content and Performance Standards, the Assessment Descriptions (for PAWS), reports, and other resources and references can be accessed via the links on the left of the page at: http://edu.wyoming.gov/Programs/Statewide_Assessment_System.aspx.
A primary purpose of the Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students (PAWS) is to foster program improvement at the school, district, and state levels in support of the teaching and learning that takes place in Wyoming public classrooms and meets all of the attendant requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001(NCLB). In 2005–2006, PAWS became the official statewide assessment used to measure individual student achievement against the Wyoming Content and Performance Standards in reading, writing, and mathematics for grades 3 - 8 and 11. In 2008, a science assessment was implemented for grades 4, 8, and 11.
PAWS is conceptually constructed around an instructionally supportive design to include clear targets for instruction and informative reporting categories. PAWS results provide skill-level reporting categories aligned to the Wyoming Content and Performance Standards as organized by the Wyoming Assessment Descriptions to assist teachers in interpreting and addressing specific academic needs of students.
Assessment results provide important information to all facets of the school community.
Policymakers, administrators, teachers, students, and parents use assessment information for a variety of purposes. Collectively, these users make decisions about how well students are achieving, whether schools are functioning effectively for each child, and whether they are functioning well for all children collectively.
The test design for the PAWS includes content area assessments in reading, writing, mathematics, and science. For reading, mathematics, and science, each test has two item types, selected-response items and constructed-response items. The writing assessment is comprised of a student’s written response to two writing prompts.
Standard accommodations are allowed on the PAWS for students on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), for students on a 504 Plan or for English Language Learners (ELL). Selection of accommodations for the general assessment is the responsibility of a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team, 504 Plan committee or service providers for ELL. Test accommodations make the test more accessible to these students without changing what the test measures. The selection and administration of accommodations must be consistent with the PAWS standard accommodations. Also, the accommodations provided must be effective in providing access to the test and are regularly used by the student during instruction and assessment.
What can parents do to help students perform well on the PAWS?
- Let your child know that testing is important and that he should do the best he can on the test.
- Be sure your child gets plenty of sleep during the testing days.
- Provide your child nourishing meals especially during the testing days.
- Be sure your child is at school on time.
- Visit with your child about the testing at the end of the day.
- Do something calming and fun with your child to help him/her relax.
- When test results come back, talk about the results with your child.
- Praise your child for doing his/her best.
What Can Students do to Perform Well on the PAWS?
Before the Test:
- Get a good night's sleep. You won't be able to think clearly if you're tired.
- Eat a nourishing breakfast and/or lunch. If you're hungry, you won't be able to focus on the test.
- Gather pencils, erasers, calculators, and any other materials you will need.
During the Test:
- Be a good listener. Listen to the directions given by the teacher. If you don't know what to do, ask for clearer directions.
- Read and follow the directions in the test booklet.
- Plan your time. Do the easy questions first so you can spend more time on the harder ones.
- If required, fill in circles darkly and neatly.
- Completely erase answers if you change your mind.
- Trust your instincts; your first choice is usually the right answer.
Clues for Multiple Choice Tests:
- Follow directions.
- Read the WHOLE PASSAGE before answering ANY questions in case you have to draw conclusions about the material and not simply find a fact.
- Carefully read each question and the choices.
- If the question is hard, underline the key words.
- Try to put hard questions in your own words.
- Predict the right answer.
- Pick the answer that is closest to the one you predicted.
- Guess wisely if you have to guess.
- Mark your answer carefully.
- Check your work, but do not spend too much time on any one question.
- If there is no penalty for guessing, use a smart guessing plan (predict the answer, cross off unlikely answers, choose the most likely answer).
Constructed-Response Test Tips:
- Read the directions carefully.
- Think about how you will organize your response - write a brief outline.
- Write your response as completely and clearly as you can.
- Review your response, check for correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
- If you hand-write your response, make sure it is readable!
- If you are allowed to write your response on the computer, be sure to use spell-check to reduce the number of grammar and spelling errors.
You can find more information about PAWS at: http://edu.wyoming.gov/Programs/statewide_assessment_system/paws.aspx
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