PAWS is history, sixth-grader names new statewide test

WYOMING – PAWS is so yesterday. The Proficiency Assessment for Wyoming Students (PAWS) will be replaced with a new look. And the cool thing is, it’s been named by a Wyoming school kid.

When Aiden Weinzierl, a sixth grader at Anderson Elementary School in Cheyenne, sits down to take the statewide assessment test formerly known as PAWS, he can do some boasting even before he’s graded. Weinzierl won a contest to name the new test with the submission “WY-TOPP.”

The new acronym (the Wyoming Department of Education loves their acronyms) stands for Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress.

“With 99 submissions from across the state, we had several good options to choose from,” said state superintendent Jillian Balow. “We went with WY-TOPP because it reflects the quality of the assessment as well as where Wyoming is with respect to its student and teachers.”

WY-TOPP will replace PAWS for grades 3-8 and ACT Aspire for grades 9-10. The ACT will continue to be administered to students in grade 11. The test will assess proficiency in reading and math for students in grades 3-10 and science for students in grades 4, 8, and 10. It will be an online assessment with various item types such as multiple choice, technology enhanced, and constructed response. The results will be comparable to students’ scores from other states and will be used for accountability purposes.

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