Cut Scores

In 2012, Wyoming adopted new content standards in English language arts and math. These standards, commonly known as the Common Core State Standards, specify what children are expected to know and do in each grade level, kindergarten through grade 12.

Since then, we have transitioned our state test, the Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students (PAWS), to address the content in the 2012 standards. Because the test has changed to better assess the new standards, WDE established new cut scores that define how much students need to know/do in order to earn scores in each of the performance levels (advanced, proficient, basic, and below basic) on PAWS.

In the summer of 2014, WDE convened standard-setting panels to review test questions against the academic targets established in the standards and to make recommendations about what students need to know and be able to do at each grade level, 3-8, in order to earn a score in each of the performance levels. The standard-setting panels were comprised of Wyoming educators with experience implementing the standards in their classrooms, and the process was facilitated by the state’s test vendor, Educational Testing Services.


The 2016 PAWS results were released to the public in July 2016. They were based on the new scale and performance level cuts originally established in 2014 that address the 2012 Wyoming Content and Performance Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics. The science test has remained the same since 2008; therefore, the scale and performance ranges are unchanged.

The performance cuts that define the various performance levels (basic, proficient, and advanced) are below:

Scale Score Proficiency Level Ranges for Grades 3-8 Mathematics

GradeBelow BasicBasicProficientAdvanced
3375-549550-598599-659660-850
4400-583584-636637-696697-875
5425-608609-651652-726727-900
6450-628629-676677-742743-925
7475-652653-696697-752753-950
8500-663664-706707-762763-925

Scale Score Proficiency Level Ranges for Grades 3-8 Reading

GradeBelow BasicBasicProficientAdvanced
3375-552553-589590-640641-800
4400-565566-605606-659660-825
5425-577578-619620-667668-850
6450-588589-629630-680681-875
7475-605606-641642-692693-900
8500-615616-655656-710711-925

Proficiency Level Ranges for Grades 4 and 8 Science

GradeBelow BasicBasicProficientAdvanced
4611 and lower612-665666-725726 and higher
8605 and lower606-653654-713714 and higher

In spring 2016, ACT Aspire was initially administered as the statewide summative assessment in grades 9 and 10.  No standard-setting panels were convened, and no cut scores were established by WDE. The vertical scales below are provided by ACT Aspire in The Interpretive Guide for ACT Aspire Summative Reports. They are grade-level score ranges created around ACT Aspire established “Readiness Benchmarks.”

 

9th Grade Aspire Readiness Levels
SubjectIn Need of SupportCloseReadyExceeding
English400-418419-425426-432433-456
Reading400-418419-424425-430431-442
Mathematics400-421422-427428-433434-460
Science400-423424-429430-435436-449
Writing408-419420-427428-435436-448
10th Grade Aspire Readiness Levels
SubjectIn Need of SupportCloseReadyExceeding
English400-420421-427428-434435-456
Reading400-421422-427428-433434-442
Mathematics400-425426-431432-437438-460
Science400-425426-431432-437438-449
Writing408-419420-427428-435436-448

As outlined in ESEA, Wyoming is required to establish performance levels on the ACT since it serves as the high school accountability test in reading, math, and science. For the 2013 test, WDE used equipercentile linking to establish score ranges on the traditional 1-36 ACT scale that resulted in similar performance to the 2012 PAWS.

A different process was used with the 2014 test in order to set higher expectations consistent with the Wyoming Content and Performance Standards in ELA and Math, paralleling the new, higher performance expectations on the 2014 PAWS. ACT research staff planned and facilitated a two day empirical standard-setting in August 2014. Panelists included Wyoming teachers, counselors and administrators as well as higher education faculty. Recommendations from the panelists were accepted by the WDE, and per the advice of its Technical Advisory Committee, the Department then created a new Wyoming ACT scale, transforming the traditional ACT scale to a 3 digit number designed with 150 as the proficient cut across all content areas. The full set of cuts for basic, proficient and advanced is in the table below.

Wyoming ACT Scale Score Ranges

SubjectBasicProficientAdvanced
Mathematics122-149150-169171+
Reading129-149150-163164+
Science127-149150-173174+

Scale Score Proficiency Level Ranges for ELA

GradesLimitedBasicProficientAcceleratedAdvanced
3-5200-362363-381382-410411-429430-575
6-8200-376377-399400-421422-448449-575
9-11200-392393-412413-436437-455456-575

Scale Score Proficiency Level Ranges for Math

GradesLimitedBasicProficientAcceleratedAdvanced
3-5200-359360-389390-426427-447448-575
6-8200-369370-399400-436437-469470-575
9-11200-391392-405406-444445-476477-575

Scale Score Proficiency Level Ranges for Science

GradesLimitedBasicProficientAcceleratedAdvanced
4200-375376-399400-424425-459460-575
8200-372373-399400-428429-464465-575
9-11200-379380-399400-436437-466467-575