Laramie High School will be taking WYTOPP for the first time this school year, starting this week.

WYTOPP is a state test taken at every school up until a student’s junior year of high school. 

“The purpose of WYTOPP is to evaluate where students are currently at,” Jeff Stender, an administrator at LHS said. 

“We take the test in the fall, and it kind of gives us a baseline so we can see how much a student grows between the fall and spring. A lot of the time we also compare scores from last spring to this spring to see what that longevity looks like, and the growth overall,” Stender said.

In previous years students would take the PAWS test for the statewide evaluation or the MAP test.

PAWS testing was only up until 8th grade and it was a paper test, whereas MAP was a computer test like WYTOPP.

The state has seemed to change the form of testing that the schools do every three to five years, and they go back and forth. 

“It (the state tests) used to be PAWS, then it was computer, paper-pencil, then I think it went back to computer, and maybe back to paper-pencil, and now we are back to the computer so I think they (the state) have, and I don’t know why they continue to change it up so often,” Stender said. 

“It seems like every three to five years we come up with a new test,” Stender said.

When the school compares scores from previous years it is hard to see the progress.

“Just the shift in the test itself makes it difficult to see how our kids are progressing overall because the test itself is different,” Stender said.

The WYTOPP, or any state test overall, has benefits for the school(s) when we get results.

“So, when we get results back in the fall it gives us an idea, not specifics, but kind of a global idea of ‘what does the kid know’. What weaknesses are there, where should we start when we’re working on instructions to improve our guidance of kids’ instructions, so we know how to push the kids forward. If you’re deficient in a particular area I can focus on that and maybe group you with others who have the same needs and then we can move forward together, collectively,” Stender said.

This also has a flip side. If a kid knows something the school does not have to go back and reteach it to waste time, they can focus on what needs to be taught. 

State tests show schools where the difficulties are so they can fix them, and the benefits will hopefully show more proficiency in the future. 

Not every grade level takes the same portion of the WYTOPP test. The freshman doesn’t take science, and the sophomores don’t take writing.

“I don’t know why that was decided. I think its fourth grade, eighth grade, and tenth grade. Those are the benchmarks for science. So, the state just decided that’s where we were going to test.” Stender said.

Not only does the test impact the school, but it also impacts the students who take it, as individuals. 

It won’t impact their grades, or how they get into college, but it could benefit them in in the long run if they take it seriously enough and try their best. 

“I think some kids want to demonstrate that they have the knowledge base that is perficient or advanced,” Stender said.

“There is that group of students in our school who want to challenge for that top score, not that we publicize what those scores look like, but I think there is a group that really strives to demonstrate what they know. Flipping that from the individual perspective, it does count for us as a school, every single kid counts to how many students are proficient or advanced overall, and we kind of get a report card over how well we are doing,” Stender said.

When kids guess it has an outcome on the overall scores because it messes up the data that shows what the students know at the state level. 

Our school scores compare to other schools to see how we are doing compared to other high schools, or middle schools. 

“Quite frankly this is just a snapshot to see how well our students are doing, and how well our teachers are doing instructional, and overall, are we able to motivate our kids to succeed,” Stender said.