Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

WYTOPP exam results in - tests scores on the rise

 

September 5, 2019



For those with school aged children, testing has been something that is an inevitable part of every school year. For those of us that are long done with school, memories of the all day long SAT testing still linger somewhere in the backs of our minds. Endless hours of filling in bubbles and flipping pages in the test booklet still haunt our dreams. The problem with these tests was the fact that neither students nor parents really knew what the scores looked like until the next year. Wyoming hopes to correct this with the WYTOPP test.

Adopted last year, the WYTOPP exam is given online, and unlike other standardized testing, the results are available almost immediately. Teachers are able to access the WYTOPP modulars all year long. What this means for the classroom is that teachers are now able to adjust their instruction to address obvious areas of struggle. The belief is that if there is good data available on an individual student basis teachers will be able to make the necessary changes to their class work to benefit the students before they advance.

The WYTOPP assessment is immediately usable as formative data. Think back to being in school. Teachers would use quizzes and tests to determine whether or not students had learned what had been taught in the lesson. This is considered formative data; giving a clear idea of what students had learned for a particular lesson or unit. The testing that would go on at the end of the year was used as summative data, or data that was used to determine what students had learned throughout the year. As mentioned earlier, those results were not available until the student was gone, giving the teacher no chance to address the problem areas. The WYTOPP does have some summative data areas, for example, the writing examples take about two weeks to score, so those would not be readily available; however, they are still back in time to work on those weak areas.

The good news for the tax payers is that the WYTOPP exam is about half the price. For educators to administer the PAWS exam it would cost tax payers around six to eight millions dollars a year, and teachers were back to using that summative data. The WYTOPP exam costs about three million dollars a year, and teachers are able to adjust immediately to strengthen those areas that are weak. Teachers are now being given a target to focus on for the future.

In order to see what this looks like in real time, over the last year school districts have seen a definite rise in their numbers. Overall scores went up across the state as follows: English saw a 2.6% rise, math saw a 2.1% rise, and science saw a .9% rise. While this may not seem like much, it’s a pretty good start for a test in its first year. Time will tell if the WYTOPP exam ends up being as good as advertised, but for now it seems like a better alternative.

 

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