Statewide scores for elementary and middle school students in the Performance Assessment for Wyoming Students, or PAWS, this spring declined in every subject and every grade level from 2012 numbers, according to data released Wednesday by the Wyoming Department of Education.
The slump may be a result of the state’s ongoing transition from one set of learning standards to another, Wyoming Director of Assessment Deb Lindsey said.
“Knowing that every district is in a state of transition and, simultaneously, our assessments are in transition, it’s not surprising to me to see some declines,” Lindsey said. Wyoming asked its teachers to begin teaching to a national set of new learning goals called the Common Core State Standards in 2012. The 2013 PAWS test was the first standardized exam to incorporate test questions about the new standards.
“We know that implementation of new standards changes the practice of classroom teachers,” Lindsey said. “It takes time.”
Former Arizona state Sen. Richard Crandall, who started as Wyoming Department of Education director on Monday, said the results indicate there’s more work to be done to transition fully to the new Common Core standards, which administrators say are more challenging than Wyoming’s former content standards.
“The higher expectations that come with more rigorous standards will ultimately benefit all Wyoming students,” Crandall said in a department release.
Teachers were asked? Try mandated to switch!