Wyoming Department of Education > For District Leadership > Assessments

State Assessment System

Wyoming’s assessment system measures students’ progress toward the Wyoming Content and Performance Standards. It is used to enhance teaching and learning, support school improvement, and provide data for accountability ensuring the effectiveness of schools, programs, and staff. When used in conjunction with a school district’s annual assessment program, statewide assessments provide the information needed to develop and implement strategies for improvement of student performance. Assessment FAQs

2020-2021 State Assessment Helplines

Assessment Portal Links

Assessment FAQs and the Back-to-School Toolkit

2017-2022 Summative Assessments
  • Reading and mathematics will be assessed each year in grades 3-10.
  • Science will be assessed in grades 4, 8,  and 10 (once per grade span) – because we have new science standards, a new science assessment will be operational for the 2020 assessment; we will continue with our current assessment on the new testing platform for the next two years.
  • Writing will be assessed in grades 3, 5, 7, 9.
  • Online with multiple item types (e.g., enhanced multiple-choice, constructed response, technology-enhanced, performance task).
  • Later spring testing window. 
  • 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.
  • Reporting deadline of August 1st, starting year 2, to facilitate school improvement activities.
  • Readiness check and training will be conducted to ensure schools have a smooth online test administration.
Assessment Task Force

In the Spring of 2014, the WDE requested an opinion from the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office regarding parent opt-outs from state-mandated testing (e.g. WY-TOPP, ACT, WY-ALT). The following is part of the AG’s response:

“In summary, the State Board of Education is authorized to establish the statewide accountability system pursuant to state law, including the Wyoming Accountability in Education Act. It has promulgated rules that require districts to administer the relevant assessments to all students in the appropriate grade levels. These requirements are within the authority granted to the board by the legislature. Consequently, districts may not allow students or their parents to opt them out of the assessments provided by law.”

The full opinion can be found here:

WY-TOPP Assessments (Grades K-10)

The Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress (WY-TOPP) is a system of interim, modular on-demand, and summative assessments in reading, mathematics, and science. The WY-TOPP interim assessments in reading and mathematics are administered in fall for grades 1-10, in winter for grades 3-10, and in spring for grades K-2. The WY-TOPP science assessment is administered in grades 4, 8, and 10. The WY-TOPP writing assessment is administered in grades 3, 5, 7, and 9. The WY-TOPP summative assessments are administered late-spring in grades 3-10.

WY-TOPP Summative Assessments

For grades 3-10, the WY-TOPP summative assessments are online adaptive assessments for math and English language arts. Students in grades 3, 5, 7, and 9 are assessed in writing. Grade 4, 8, and 10 students are assessed in science. The science assessment is a fixed-form online assessment.

  • 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
  • Reporting deadline of August 1st to facilitate school improvement activities (Results will not be available until September in 2018 only, as a panel needs to meet and set cut scores for this new assessment)
  • Readiness check and training will be conducted to ensure schools have a smooth online test administration
WY-TOPP Interim Assessments

The WY-TOPP Fall and Winter interim assessments are optional online adaptive assessments. All Interims for ELA and Math, K-10 are optional to school districts.

WY-TOPP Modular Assessments

The WY-TOPP modular assessments are optional online formative assessments that are available for grades 1-10 and can be administered on-demand throughout the school year. Modular assessments are short assessments that focus on a specific topic or skill e.g. ratios and proportional relationships. Results from the modular assessments will be available immediately after students complete the assessment. Participating in modular assessments can help instructors inform instruction and help students and teachers gain familiarity with the online test platform and tools.

WY-TOPP Writing Assessments

Writing is assessed on the WY-TOPP summative assessment in grades 3, 5, 7, and 9. The writing assessment will include 1 stand-alone prompt. Because of the adaptiveness of the exam students in grades 3 and 5 will be presented with an opinion or an informative/explanatory prompt. Students in grades 7 and 9 will be presented with an argumentative or an informative/explanatory prompt.

Writing is available to be assessed on the optional WY-TOPP interim assessments in grades 3, 5, 7, and 9. The same breakdown of prompt types applies to the interim as the summative.

Writing is also available for grades 3-10 on the optional modular assessments. Grades 3-5 writing modular assessments will include opinion and informative/explanatory prompts. Grades 6-10 writing modular assessments will include argumentative and informative/explanatory prompts.

General Resources

WY-TOPP Administration Manuals and User Guides

Accommodations and Accessibility

Interim, Modular, and Summative Reporting

Technology Support

WY-ALT (Grades 3-10)

The Wyoming Alternate Assessment for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities (WY-ALT) was administered for the first time in spring 2015. The WY-ALT is aligned to the Wyoming Extended Content and Performance Standards (WYECPS) and designed to allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in an appropriately rigorous assessment. All information about the WY-ALT is available on the WY-ALT Portal.

Wyoming Statewide Alternate Assessment: WY-ALT

Wyoming’s alternate assessment, WY-ALT, is designed for a small number of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. It’s part of a statewide instructionally supportive assessment system that complies with the requirements of federal accountability law and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA).

Wyoming has rigorous academic standards for all students. The Wyoming Department of Education believes that the results of the WY-ALT, along with other measures of student performance, will enable teachers to provide individualized academic instruction to enable students to achieve high standards of academic performance and improve instructional programs. A student’s participation in the WY-ALT is appropriate when the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team has determined that the student’s academic achievement is best measured by Alternate Academic Achievement Standards, consistent with Wyoming’s participation requirements.

About the Program

The WY-ALT is administered to students in grades 3 – 10 in ELA, and mathematics and to students in grades 4, 8,  and 10 in science. The WY-ALT is an individually administered student performance assessment that allows students to demonstrate their mastery of grade-level-aligned Wyoming Extended Content and Performance Standards.

The grade-level Wyoming Extended Content and Performance Standards specify essential learning for all students who participate in the WY-ALT. The extended standards, though reduced in breadth, depth and complexity, are linked to the Wyoming Content and Performance Standards and define the knowledge and skills that students are expected to master at appropriate levels of challenge. Teachers ensure access to the general academic curriculum through teaching and learning opportunities aligned to the extended Academic Benchmarks. Teachers employ a wide range of instructional strategies as determined by a student’s individual learning characteristics and communication modes and levels, and through the use of adapted, grade-level appropriate materials.

General Resources

WY-ALT Administration Manuals and User Guides

WY-ALT Accommodations and Accessibility

ACT Assessments (Grades 11 & 12)

ACT is the capstone of the ACT college and career readiness system. It measures students’ general learning outcomes in English, math, reading, writing, and science. This assessment is given once per year to all students in the 11th grade.

Districts may administer the ACT either online or paper/pencil.

General Resources

Open Ed Resources

WorkKeys Portal

If your campus is interested in administering ACT WorkKeys and the campus testing coordinator has not received information from ACT WorkKeys, then please call ACT at 319-337-1386.

WorkKeys is a researched-based assessment that measures work skills needed for career success across industries. Grade 11 and 12 students are eligible to take the WorkKeys exam. Students will have the opportunity to take Reading for Information, Applied Mathematics, and Locating Information and are eligible to earn the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate.

The WorkKeys® job skill assessment system was created in the late 1980s by ACT Inc. ACT Inc. is the nonprofit company responsible for the ACT test. Businesses use WorkKeys to measure workplace skills of employees and job applicants. Schools and colleges also use WorkKeys to prepare students for the workplace.

In 2006, WorkKeys® was introduced in legislation as an alternative test to qualify for the Hathaway Provisional Opportunity Scholarship. Since then, the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) has teamed up with the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services (DWS) to combine efforts in order to meet similar objectives.

The National Career Readiness Certificate is a national program designed to foster economic and workforce development in the state of Wyoming. The National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), powered by WorkKeys™a product of ACT, Inc., is a nationally-recognized credential which denotes that the holder possesses the fundamental skills required to achieve success in the workplace and become a productive, valuable employee.

A National Career Readiness Certificate is earned by completing the three WorkKeys Assessments

  • Applied Math
  • Workplace Documents
  • Graphic Literacy

Students who take the WorkKeys® on the WorkKeys® state test day may be eligible to receive an NCRC on top of qualifying for a Hathaway Provisional Opportunity Scholarship.

ACCESS for ELLs English Language Proficiency Assessments

The ACCESS for ELLs® is required once per year with all students who are English learners. It assesses students’ progress in attaining English proficiency. An alternate ACCESS (ALT-ACCESS) is also available for English learners who also have significant cognitive disabilities.

WIDA Portal

ESSA, and corresponding state statutes mandate that states administer a standards-based English language proficiency test annually to all English Learners (ELs) in kindergarten through grade twelve in public schools. States have to measure English learners’ progress toward English-language proficiency on statewide assessments given to all English learners annually.  In that first year, states may choose to excuse English learners from taking the reading/language arts assessment. Starting in their second year in U.S. schools, all English learners have to participate in all statewide annual assessments. But the number and kinds of tests depend on the grade level of the child.

 Wyoming joined the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) consortium in 2009. The WIDA consortium’s goal is to provide research based assessments, standards and professional development to its member states. The WIDA consortium is dedicated to the design and implementation of high standards and equitable educational opportunities for English learners.

WIDA Screener Tests

KW-APT (Kindergarten WIDA ACCESS Placement Test), WIDA Model or WIDA Screener)

Wyoming uses Kindergarten KW-APT or WIDA MODEL to identify English language learners (ELLs) in Kindergarten and WIDA Screener for Grades 1-12.

ACCESS for ELLs is given to all ELLs during the annual testing window, which typically lasts from mid-January through late February.  Its purposes are the following:

  • To identify students who may or may not be candidates for English as a Second Language (ESL) and/or bilingual services.
  • To determine the academic English language proficiency levels of students new to a school of to the U.S. school system in order to assign appropriate levels and amount of instructional services.
  • To accurately assign students identified as ELs to one of the tiers for ACCESS for ELLs.


Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners

ACCESS for ELLs is a secure large-scale online and paper-based English language proficiency assessment administered to Kindergarten through 12th grade students who have been identified as English language learners (ELLs). It is given annually in WIDA Consortium member states to monitor students’ progress in acquiring academic English. ACCESS for ELLs is aligned with the WIDA English Language Development Standards and assesses each of the four language domains of Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing.

Alternate ACCESS for ELLs

The Alternate ACCESS for ELLs is an assessment of English language proficiency (ELP) for students in grades 1-12 who are classified as English learners (ELs) and have significant cognitive disabilities that prevent their meaningful participation in the ACCESS 2.0 for ELLs assessment. States must provide accommodations on these tests and list them in students’ IEPs or 504 plans.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA; 2004) also mandates that students with disabilities participate in state-wide and district-wide assessment programs, including alternate assessments with appropriate accommodations, when it is documented in their Individualized Education Programs (IEP). For this reason, WIDA created the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs to meet federal accountability requirements and to provide educators with a measure sensitive to English language proficiency growth of ELs with significant cognitive disabilities.

Only 1 percent of students can be given “alternate tests.” These tests are different from the state’s general education tests. Just a small number of kids with cognitive disabilities take these kinds of assessments. These tests aren’t usually for students with learning and attention issues.

In order to receive meaningful information from the test, it is very important that only students who meet all three criteria below participate in the assessment. Other ELs should continue to take the existing ACCESS for ELLs assessment, with appropriate accommodations as necessary. Participation should be decided by the student’s IEP team.

Participation Criteria:

  • The student has been classified as an EL.
  • The student has a significant cognitive disability and is eligible for special education services under IDEA.
  • The student is in a curriculum aligned with Wyoming Content and Performance Standards – Extensions (WyCPSE) and is participating in the state’s alternate accountability assessment, Wy-ALT.
  • In addition to the statewide assessment system, Wyoming schools and students also participate in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card, every other year. The next administration of the NAEP is in 2021.
  • Note: Some schools may be participating in the NAEP History and/or Civics Assessments

Archived Materials


User Guides and Manuals

Videos and Powerpoints









User Guides and Manuals

Videos and Powerpoints




ACCESS for ELLs 2.0