To earn a high school diploma, Wyoming students must successfully complete four school years of English, three of mathematics, three of science and three of social studies, to include history, American government and economic systems and institutions, for a total of thirteen Carnegie units. Furthermore, Wyoming’s graduation requirements include “evidence of proficient performance, at a minimum, on the uniform student content and performance standards for the common core of knowledge and skills." In contrast with many states nationwide that require students to pass a single, state-wide graduation exit exam, Wyoming school districts are required to collect a Body of Evidence to determine if a student has met graduation requirements. State statute (W.S. 21-3-110(a)(xxiv)) defines the establishment of a student assessment system as one of the duties of the board of trustees in each local school district, stating that each district board shall:
Establish a student assessment system to measure student performance relative to the uniform student content and performance standards in all content areas for which the state board has promulgated standards pursuant to W.S. 21-2-304(a)(iii). To the extent required by the state board under W.S. 21-2-304(a)(v) and (vi), the district assessment system shall be integrated with the statewide assessment system and the statewide accountability system. A component of the district assessment system required by this paragraph shall include a body of evidence assessment system designed and used to determine the various levels of student performance as described in the uniform student content and performance standards relative to the common core of knowledge and skills prescribed under W.S. 21-9-101(b);
The philosophy at the heart of the Wyoming Body of Evidence system is to provide multiple measures to assess student mastery of the content standards; in this way, no single assessment can disqualify a student from graduation. Although each district determines what it will include in its Body of Evidence, the evidence must be able to support determinations about student mastery in each of the core content areas: career/vocational education, fine and performing arts, foreign languages, health education, language arts, mathematics, physical education, science, and social studies. An individual district may determine student mastery of the standards through a variety of means as decided by that district, including district assessments, state assessments, and successful completion of courses with passing grades.
Wyoming’s Body of Evidence system also provides for differentiation of performance levels. Beginning with the graduating class of 2006, a student may earn one of three possible endorsements on his or her transcript: advanced, comprehensive, or general.
Each district’s Body of Evidence system is reviewed through a peer review process facilitated by the Wyoming Department of Education. Using a set of criteria generated by the WDE and including statewide input, districts present their Body of Evidence systems for review and feedback.
The peer review team, through the Wyoming Department of Education, will provide an evaluation or score to the accreditation unit, and reports will be provided to the State Board of Education (Wyoming Assessment Handbook, pg.64).