CHEYENNE – Several student groups continue to outperform their peers’ test scores around the country, which helped keep Wyoming above national public school averages on the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the Nation’s Report Card or NAEP.
Scores are intended to show where Wyoming compares to other states. Unlike the statewide assessment WY-TOPP, which tests all students, NAEP is administered to a statistical sample of students and does not render individual test results for students or their schools. As such, NAEP data represent a sampling of Wyoming students in four reporting areas: grades four and eight in reading and math.
The student groups outperforming peers in other states include students in town and rural schools (above national averages in all four reporting areas) and city school students (surpassing their national peers in math for both grades and grade four reading). Students eligible for the National School Lunch Program (above national averages in all four reporting areas) and Hispanic students (surpassing their national peers in math for both grades and grade four reading) also performed well. Finally, Special Education students (above their peers nationally in grade four reading and math) and English Language Learners (surpassing their peers in grade four math) made positive contributions to Wyoming’s 2019 NAEP results.
Funding Peer States
Wyoming was one of 11 states in 2019 with annual funding of $15,000 per student or more, according to federal cost figures available from the U.S. Department of Education. The peer states include Alaska, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Comparing Wyoming with the peer funding states using NAEP’s Basic or Above achievement level metric renders 40 comparisons (i.e., 10 peer states across the four reporting areas in both grades and subjects). The percentage of Wyoming students in 2019 was higher than its peers in 23 of these comparisons, statistically even with 16 others, and was surpassed in only one case out of 40 – by Massachusetts, in grade eight reading.
“When you dig into the current and past NAEP data, hard work by students and educators is paying off for groups which are considered challenged or at risk in comparison to other states. Wyoming is taking full advantage of the opportunities afforded by our state’s funding model,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “Equitable funding is an important factor in Wyoming’s educational success story. Going forward, I am concerned that the cap placed on Special Education funding in Wyoming will negatively affect NAEP data.”
In 2019, Wyoming continued to perform well in comparisons with its six bordering states in NAEP metrics: average scale scores and the percentage of students performing at or above NAEP’s Basic achievement level. Wyoming’s average scale scores were above adjacent states’ for eight of 12 comparisons in grade four reading and math. Wyoming was unsurpassed by any adjacent state in the 24 comparisons at NAEP’s Basic achievement level (i.e., across the six states and four reporting areas – both grades four and eight and both subjects) and outperformed all neighboring states in fourth grade math.
Scores for both reading and math in both grade levels were lower nationally, Wyoming students continue to score above the national average over the last eight years.
“Wyoming schools have a renewed focus on high quality K-3 literacy instruction, interventions, and curriculum. I anticipate this will positively impact scores in coming years.” Superintendent Balow said.
NAEP testing is administered every two years in reading and mathematics to Wyoming’s fourth and eighth grade students, in a digital format. All 50 states participate in the assessment, as well as the District of Columbia and Department of Defense schools. NAEP provides an external reference or point-of-comparison to audit, review, and compare each state’s educational program. Additionally, NAEP provides a stable trend line for tracking achievement during the current flux nationally in state testing programs.
More details on Wyoming’s 2019 NAEP results can be found on the WDE website or at the following links: