By Molly Messick
Laramie, Wyo. – The Wyoming Superintendent for Public Instruction today announced that the state's student assessment test will go back to a pencil and paper format next year. The Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students, or PAWS test, has drawn criticism in recent months. That's after technological problems disrupted computer-based evaluations this year.
Rod Kessler is the Superintendent of Johnson County School District 1 and the president of the Wyoming Association of School Administrators. He says the problems with the PAWS test are bigger than giving the test with paper and pencil versus giving it on a computer. "If we're going to take the time that we do take out of our instruction for students to be working on these assessments," he said, "why not make it valuable to the classroom teacher as well and valuable to the students?"
Kessler says schools don't get PAWS results quickly enough to allow them to change techniques in their classrooms. He says nearly all Wyoming school districts use an additional test, called Measures of Academic Progress, to get a more immediate sense of how students are faring. Kessler says it would be better for students if one test could serve both assessment purposes.