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By Seth Romsa
Staff Writer 

WCSD#1 students shine in WY-TOPP Testing


September 5, 2019

WORLAND – Spring testing in Worland brought about positive results for Worland area schools.

According to the Wyoming Department of Education, the Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress (WY-TOPP) is a system of assessments that will help determine the level that each child is performing at, with this test just recently replacing the Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students (PAWS) which had been administered to Wyoming students since 2005-06.

These scores are being compared district by district, which there are 48 of in the state of Wyoming.

The third grade classes at South Side finished top two in both language arts and math, finishing second only behind Ten Sleep for language arts, and finished top in the state for math with 87% of students being proficient or advanced.

Curriculum director Jody Rakness said that the main success of the third grade classes is brought about by teachers placing each student through each assessment and through an item analysis in order to help each student, and teachers will intervene if a student is one of the lowest in a particular area.

Fourth grade did remain above the state average, but did not perform as well as third grade, but did maintain around a 60% average of students proficient in math, language arts, and science. Rakness pointed out that science is not expected to be such a highly stressed subject, as Worland area schools primarily focus on ensuring each student is proficient in reading, writing and math at an early age.

The transition from fifth to sixth grade is always a point where test scores typically drop the most as students transition from West Side Elementary to Worland Middle School, but this year the test scores remained high, and Rakness attested that to how teachers are handling the meaning behind why test scores may drop.

“In the past teachers may have told you better luck next time.” Rakness said. “Now, teachers may say ‘well you got this correct, but you missed these pieces, now let’s go in and fix that.’”

This strategy is employed because it is believed to be a different philosophy that allows students to learn at different rates, and not penalize certain students for not learning as quick.

In seventh grade language arts, Worland Middle School tested as the second best in the state, with a near 82% rate of students being proficient or advanced in language arts, and tested at tenth in the state for math.

Scores in eighth grade are typically lower compared to other grades, as coursework begins to become more complex, and proficiency standards are raised to a higher level with the elevating coursework, yet Worland Middle School eighth graders scored the fourth highest proficiency rate in the state for math.

The transition from middle school to high school is typically another area where test scores will drop, as the transition from middle school to high school can be difficult, and the coursework becomes more difficult again.

Rakness said that ninth grade math is typically one of the lower scores, and was the only score that was below the state average. This is because in high school, students are “split up” and take different levels of math from algebra, all the way up to algebra II within their first two years of high school, and are learning concepts at different rates.

Tenth grade tested really well, with each subject area seeing at least 62% of students being proficient in math, science, and language arts.

With the overall scores being calculated and ACT scores being introduced in to the mix, Washakie County School District No. 1 schools overall performed as one of the top five districts in the state, but that does not mean that they are not looking to settle, and are looking to help improve the learning experience of each individual student each time they set foot in a classroom.


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