Assignment: Education – Wisconsin Forward Exam

Wisconsin students begin taking new state assessment

Beginning this spring, Wisconsin students will begin taking a new state assessment called the Wisconsin Forward Exam. This is the second time the state assessment has been changed in two years.

Jesse McKinney’s fourth graders at West Salem Elementary School are brushing up on their testing skills. They are preparing for the newly mandated state assessment called the Wisconsin Forward Exam by using the built-in test preparation materials that come with the online test.

“We answer the questions together,” said McKinney. “It gives them a little idea of how to log in. It gives them the idea of what types of questions they’re going to see on the test, which makes them feel more comfortable in the end.”

The preparation for this year’s exam is going much more smoothly than last year.

“There’s much less stress,” said Michael St. Pierre, West Salem School District director of instruction and technology. It’s more familiar to our teachers. When we talked about an online testing tool, the teachers already knew what we were talking about. The tools and features may have changed, but it was not as foreign of an idea for them.”

St. Pierre said the difference maker was the amount of time the school district was given to prepare for the test.

“Our technicians had plenty of time to develop a system that would be responsive to the teachers, the computers, our network,” said St. Pierre. “We didn’t have that last year. So a lot of kudos to the D.P.I. for setting up a system this year that gave us enough time to be prepared.”

And with the school now prepared, teachers are able to start getting the students prepared.

“We’ll probably spend the week before the test really hitting the test practice a little bit harder,” said McKinney. “Just kind of making them feel comfortable and positive, and excited about taking the test.”

All Wisconsin public school students in grades three through eight will be taking the Forward Exam. The exam window is from March 28 through May 20. Students receiving a school voucher students also take the exam if they don’t opt out.