Performance Level Descriptors (PLDs)

Performance-Level Descriptors (PLDs) give teachers, parents/guardians, and students more information about the typical skills and knowledge a student demonstrates on state assessments in each performance level. PLDs are linked to state-adopted content standards, and are used as guides by standard-setting committees as they make recommendations for the scores needed to achieve performance levels (Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, and Advanced) on statewide assessments. Committees comprised of Wyoming teachers developed the PLDs for PAWS during the standard-setting processes. Each committee used the PLDs to engage in a general discussion concerning the knowledge and skills that students at each performance level should be expected to demonstrate. These discussions resulted in a common understanding of expectations for student performance at each performance level, which in turn informed the committee’s cut-score recommendations.

Performance Level Descriptors have been developed for every tested grade level in ELA, Mathematics, and Science:

  • ELA in grades 3-8
  • Mathematics in grades 3-8
  • Science in grades 4 and 8

In addition to being used in the standard setting process, PLDs may serve a number of purposes. They can be used as a tool in classroom instruction because they assist teachers and schools in better understanding a student’s performance on a given assessment. PLDs can also enhance parents’ understanding of their child’s academic strengths and weaknesses, and can help the community at large better understand state test scores and the level of performance required of students on PAWS.



Grade 11

Mathematics
  • Basic: Students meeting the Basic standard in math have a 22% probability of earning a B or higher in a first-year credit-bearing college course in math, and a 51% probability of earning a C or higher in the course. Thirty-six percent of the 2013 ACT-tested graduating class in Wyoming who met the Basic standard in math enrolled in college the fall after high school graduation.
  • Proficient: Students meeting the Proficient standard in math have a 44% probability of earning a B or higher in a first-year credit-bearing college course in math, and a 69% probability of earning a C or higher in the course. Fifty-seven percent of the 2013 ACT-tested graduating class in Wyoming who met the Proficient standard in math enrolled in college the fall after high school graduation.
  • Advanced: Students meeting the Advanced standard in math have a 73% probability of earning a B or higher in a first-year credit-bearing college course in math, and a 85% probability of earning a C or higher in the course. Seventy-two percent of the 2013 ACT-tested graduating class in Wyoming who met the Advanced standard in math enrolled in college the fall after high school graduation.
Reading
  • Basic: Students meeting the Basic standard in reading have a 33% probability of earning a B or higher in a first-year credit-bearing college course in social science, and a 63% probability of earning a C or higher in the course. Forty percent of the 2013 ACT-tested graduating class in Wyoming who met the Basic standard in reading enrolled in college the fall after high school graduation.
  • Proficient: Students meeting the Proficient standard in reading have a 53% probability of earning a B or higher in a first-year credit-bearing college course in social science, and a 76% probability of earning a C or higher in the course. Sixty-two percent of the 2013 ACT-tested graduating class in Wyoming who met the Proficient standard in reading enrolled in college the fall after high school graduation.
  • Advanced: Students meeting the Advanced standard in reading have a 69% probability of earning a B or higher in a first-year credit-bearing college course in social science, and a 85% probability of earning a C or higher in the course. Seventy-four percent of the 2013 ACT-tested graduating class in Wyoming who met the Advanced standard in reading enrolled in college the fall after high school graduation.
Science
  • Basic: Students meeting the Basic standard in science have a 26% probability of earning a B or higher in a first-year credit-bearing college course in science, and a 59% probability of earning a C or higher in the course. Forty-seven percent of the 2013 ACT-tested graduating class in Wyoming who met the Basic standard in science enrolled in college the fall after high school graduation.
  • Proficient: Students meeting the Proficient standard in science have a 49% probability of earning a B or higher in a first-year credit-bearing college course in science, and a 77% probability of earning a C or higher in the course. Sixty-five percent of the 2013 ACT-tested graduating class in Wyoming who met the Proficient standard in science enrolled in college the fall after high school graduation.
  • Advanced: Students meeting the Advanced standard in science have a 77% probability of earning a B or higher in a first-year credit-bearing college course in science, and a 91% probability of earning a C or higher in the course. Seventy-two percent of the 2013 ACT-tested graduating class in Wyoming who met the Advanced standard in science enrolled in college the fall after high school graduation.