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An introduction to Wisconsin Forward Exams

THURSDAY, JANUARY 14, 2016 12:17 PM

The Wisconsin Forward Exams, known as Wisconsin Student Assessment Systems, or WSAS, align with the Common Core State Standards. According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, schools will begin administering these tests in spring 2016. Read on to learn more:

What is the Wisconsin Forward Exam?
Wisconsin students will take English language arts, science, social studies and math WSAS exams. The test subject ages are as follows:

  • Third grade: English language arts and mathematics.
  • Fourth grade: English language arts, mathematics, social studies and science.
  • Fifth grade: English language arts and mathematics.
  • Sixth grade: English language arts and mathematics.
  • Seventh grade: English language arts, and mathematics.
  • Eighth grade: English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.

Students in ninth through 11th grade will take the ACT exams as college entrance exams. The WSAS exams are computerized, but students who are English language learners or require special assistance like braille may take a paper version. Discuss the potentials with your school administrators if your children may need to take a different version of the tests.

Why are the WSAS tests important?
Doing the WSAS exams provides students with opportunities to show what they've learned. Consistent low scores in particular subjects may indicate that a teacher needs to reevaluate the curricula and improve student understanding of the subject. School administrators also gain insight into how their district is doing compared to others across the state. Taking the WSAS tests on a computer allows students to practice using technology they may encounter in post-secondary education or their future careers. WSAS scoring helps schools learn if their student bodies know the necessary information to move on to the next grade and eventually to take on college.

How can you help your children prepare?
The majority of your kids' time in school includes preparing for these Common Core-aligned tests. Daily homework assignments, quizzes and major tests all provide knowledge that is in the WSAS. Make sure your kids do their normal class work and that you help them with any subjects they struggle in. You can also encourage your children to try WSAS practice tests. These online exams offer students the chance to become familiar with the testing format and often reduces anxiety that can affect their grades. If you have nervous kids, this is an especially good idea to help them prepare.