SAWS Archive

Contact Information
Assessment Supervisor
Jessica Steinbrenner
(307) 777-8568
Jessica.Steinbrenner@wyo.gov

SAWS Archive

Enrolled Act 50 was signed into law by Governor Mead on Monday, March 2, 2015. The new statute eliminates the Statewide Assessment of Writing Skills (SAWS) at grades 3, 5, and 7 from the statewide assessment system effective immediately. This means that the SAWS test scheduled for April 13 – May 1, 2015 is canceled.

Using prompts and anchor papers already developed under the SAWS program, WDE Standards and Assessment teams will be planning professional development sessions in order to continue support for standards-based instruction relative to writing. Announcements regarding these professional development opportunities will be made via the WDE website as well as through the weekly Assessment Newsletter Updates.

About the Program

The Student Assessment of Writing Skills (SAWS) was established through legislation passed during the 2011 and 2012 Wyoming legislative session. The full assessment design will be phased in over three consecutive years, beginning in the spring of 2013, consistent with statutory requirements.

Grades 3, 5, and 7 will participate in the SAWS. Students in these grades will see the following prompt types on the SAWS:

  • One 12 pt. prompt:
    • Four traits (analytic): 0-3 pts each
      • ID – Idea Development
      • OR – Organization
      • PV – Voice
      • CC – Conventions
  • One 8 pt. Response-to-Text Prompt
  • One 12 pt. prompt
    • Four traits (analytic): 0-3 pts each
      • ID – Idea Development
      • OR – Organization
      • PV – Voice
      • CC – Conventions
  • One Response-to-Text item set consisting of a passage and two prompts, 4 pts and 8 pts holistic, respectively
    • 4 pt items, holistically scored in two parts
      • 2 of the 4 pts count for responding to the text (RTT)
      • 2 of the 4 pts count for quality of writing and is referred to as the holistic writing score
    • 8 pt, holistically scored in two parts
      • 2 of the 8 pts count for responding to the text (RTT)
      • 6 of the 8 pts count for quality of writing and is referred to as the holistic writing score
  • One 12 pt. prompt
    • Four traits (analytic): 0-3 pts each
      • ID – Idea Development
      • OR – Organization
      • PV – Voice
      • CC – Conventions
  • One Response-to-Text item set consisting of a passage and two prompts, 4 pt and 8 pt holistic, respectively
    • 4 pt items, holistically scored in two parts
      • 2 of the 4 pts count for responding to the text (RTT)
      • 2 of the 4 pts count for quality of writing and is referred to as the holistic writing score
    • 8 pt, holistically scored in two parts
      • 2 of the 8 pts count for responding to the text (RTT)
      • 6 of the 8 pts count for quality of writing and is referred to as the holistic writing score

Operational Prompts

Operational prompts will be selected annually by WDE assessment staff. To ensure that all prompt types are integrated into classroom instruction, WDE will not reveal the operational prompts used on each year’s assessment. Pursuant to statute, each year one of the two operational prompts will be a response to text at all grades. Students should be prepared to write to any of the four item types described below:

Standard 1: Opinion/Argument Essay: Grades 3 and 5 students will write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information. Grade 7 students will write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. This prompt will require students to write an essay which will be scored using a 12 point analytic scoring guide. Scoring guides for each grade can be found at the links below.

Standard 2: Informative/Explanatory Essay: Students in grade 3, 5, and 7 will write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly. Please see each grade level standard for a more detailed description of the writing skills measured. This prompt will require students to write an essay which will be scored using a 12 point analytic scoring guide. Scoring guides for each grade can be found at the links below.

Standard 3: Narrative Essay: Students in grade 3, 5, and 7 will write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences. Please see each grade level standard for a more detailed description of the writing skills measured. This prompt will require students to write an essay which will be scored using a 12 point analytic scoring guide. Scoring guides for each grade can be found at the links below.

Standard 9: Students in grades 5 and 7 will address a pair of prompts which require they read one passage and write two responses, each of which draws evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. Please see grade level standards for a more detailed description of the writing skills measured. This prompt type requires a short 4 point response and a longer 8 point response; each response will be scored using a holistic scoring guide. There will be a total of 12 points possible for the prompts addressing Standard 9. Scoring guides for each grade can be found at the links below.

Released items for Standards 2 and 3 can be found at the Grade Level Resources link below. WDE will post released items for Standards 1 and 9 in the summer of 2013, following a review of field test results by WDE and classroom teachers.

These resources include: Rubrics, Assessment Descriptions, Released Items, Draft Writing paper and Traffic Signal suggestions.

Released Writing Prompts