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. Beginning in 2013, the PAWS will be administered in grades 3-8 in reading, math, and grades 4 and 8 in science. Writing is now assessed through the SAWS.
PAWS is designed to be instructionally supportive and include clear targets for instruction as well as informative reporting categories. PAWS reports provide skill-level categories aligned to the Wyoming Content and Performance Standards as organized by the Wyoming Assessment Descriptions.
Assessment results provide important information to all facets of the school community. These PAWS results assist teachers in addressing specific academic needs of students and in making decisions about delivery of instruction in their classrooms. Policymakers, administrators, students, and parents also 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 PAWS is a multiple choice assessment in reading, math, and science.
Accommodations are allowed on the PAWS for students on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), for students on a 504 Plan, and for English Language Learners (ELL). Selection of accommodations for the general assessment is the responsibility of a student’s IEP team, 504 Plan committee or service providers for ELL, and must align with the guidelines found in the PAWS standard accommodations manual found at the link below. Accommodations selected and administrated must be from the PAWS Accommodations Manual. Accommodations provided must be regularly used by the student.