CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Education has just released the results for the Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress (WY-TOPP). They are available online at https://edu.wyoming.gov/data/assessment-reports/.
Grades three through sophomores are tested in math, English and science. Platte County School District No.1 is comparable to the rest of the state within a few percentage points. English and science scores are above the state scores with math scores of 57 percent of students ranking at proficient or advanced to the state’s score of 55 percent. Science is the topper with our students at 53 percent proficient and the state at 49 percent. Math scores seem to be struggling more. The state score is 51 percent and while Platte County was at 52 percent in the 2017-2018 school year, last year the score went down to 49 percent.
When it comes to math, the elementary scores for proficiency are all above 50 percent. The struggle seems to pop up in sixth and seventh grade. They recover a bit in eighth and plummet in ninth grade down to 34 percent making proficient scores and then rise to just 39 percent in tenth.
The most impressive jump from the previous year was ninth grade English. That score went from 46 percent of students being proficient to a whopping 69 percent last year. The highest percentage score of any grade or subject in the ones tested. The only one that comes close was eighth grade English scoring 64 percent an increase from the 56 percent of 2017-2018.
According to the data released, the ACT scores for juniors in Platte County School District No. 1 have all increased over last year in every subject – English, Math, Reading and Science. The overall composite score for the class was 19.6 which is considered an average score for the ACT. While the score is higher than last year’s class of 18.9, it is lower than the 2016 -17 year at 21.
There are many cons to standardized testing. One of them is that the high school students know that the test does not affect their final grade so many of them don’t take the test seriously and have even been known to just make designs on the bubble sheet instead of actually reading the questions. Some students who do well in class, panic at the thought of a test and do poorly out of anxiety so the test score is not an accurate measure of their abilities.
Standardized tests are just one piece of the puzzle,” explained the new Superintendent of PCSD #1, Dr. Steve Miller. “They create conversation starters, not knee-jerk reactions from one data point.”
Dr. Miller also commented on the difficulty of accurate measuring when the tests required by the state keep changing every couple of years. There isn’t a consistent scale to refer to.
This spring, the University of Wyoming awarded 101 Trustees’ Scholarships to Wyoming graduates. Trustees’ scholars are offered a full-ride scholarship to the University including tuition, room and board. The requirements are incredibly difficult to achieve and the standards are very high. Three of those scholarships went to Wheatland graduates.