The Legislature Adjourns

Dear Superintendents,

The 2018 legislative session adjourned “sine die” yesterday with late budget compromises that affect education. My team, like yours, will spend the next days analyzing, evaluating, and planning. Preliminarily, here’s where education is headed:

  • The school finance bill reduces education funding by $27.3m in the next biennium, through changes to special education, transportation, ADM calculation, and groundskeepers.
  • SF29, Computer Science, was signed by Governor Mead on Wednesday. Additional bill passage includes creation of an alternative school accountability system, Hathaway scholarship application extension, and the naming of the State Superintendent’s office in the Capitol after Estelle Reel.
  • For the interim, focus will be on school safety and security, state accountability, transportation, and review of the basket of goods, among other topics.

Here is an early article from the Casper Star Tribune

A large crowd is gathered behind the governor to watch him sign the Computer Science Education bill into law in a meeting room at the Jonah Financial Center. Observers include State Superintendent Jillian Balow, state legislators, tech company representatives, Array School students, and other supporters of the bill.
SF29–Computer Science Education–is signed by the Governor
High school students congregate in the lobby of the University of Wyoming Business building dressed in professional attire during a break of their state conference for Future Business Leaders of America.
Wyoming FBLA students compete in Laramie at the UW College of Business this week

WY-TOPP

The Spring 2018 WY-TOPP window is fast approaching (April 16-May 11). This is the testing window where participation is required for most grades. Here are a few general talking points and reminders:

  • Online with multiple item types (e.g., enhanced multiple choice, constructed response, technology enhanced, performance task)
  • Testing time is limited to 1% of the school year (e.g., 9 hours for elementary, 10 for middle school, and 11 for high school); this is for “actual testing time” and does not include test prep, breaks, or time reading the instructions
  • Comparability across states – students’ scores are to be comparable to students’ scores from other states
  • Readiness check and training SHOULD HAVE ALREADY been conducted to ensure schools have a smooth online test administration

Not only is this a new assessment, aligned with our state content and performance standards, it is also a new format. Thus, ensuring that stakeholders in your community have an understanding that assessment data is just one measure of school success, is essential. 

This year, maybe more so than in recent years, it is important to pull data together from formative classroom assessments, district benchmark assessments, and the WY-TOPP to tell the assessment story for your students in your district. Student success is richer than assessment data yet sometimes that seems to be the main focus. Our improved and refined accountability system puts a greater emphasis on student growth and a well rounded education and this will be reflected in this year’s performance ratings.

WDE staff sit with school district personnel and representatives from the statewide assessment vendor in a conference room working together to finalize details of the assessment to be given this spring.
WDE, Districts, and AIR working to ensure a successful WY-TOPP summative assessment in 2018

Memos to be released on March 19:

Jillian