Assessment in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Student Assessment System

The Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS) is a comprehensive statewide program designed to provide information about what students know in core academic areas and whether they can apply what they know. The WSAS includes:

  • the State Summative Assessment (TBD) at grades 4, 8, and 10 in Science and Social Studies,
  • the State Summative Assessment (TBD) at grades 3-8 in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics, 
  • Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) at grades 3-11 in ELA and Mathematics, and at grades 4 and 8 - 11 in Science.
  • ACT Aspire at grades 9 & 10, and 
  • The ACT Plus Writing at grade 11 for Reading, English, Mathematics, Science, and Writing.
  • ACT WorkKeys at grade 11

The federal No Child Left Behind Act required all states to test all students in reading and mathematics in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school. Student performance on these assessments is reported in proficiency categories and used for accountability determination at the school, district and state levels. 

Building a Statewide Balanced Assessment System for Wisconsin

Wisconsin is working to ensure districts have balanced assessment systems in place. A balanced assessment system is a series of interrelated components designed to support the teaching and learning cycle. To impact student learning, the assessment system must be part of a 21st century system of learning with standards, curriculum, instruction, and support structures working in sync to ensure students are college and career ready.Please visit our balanced assessment page for details, resources for classroom teachers, and to download the Balanced Assessment System chart.

Monthly "Tea with Troy" Updates

 5-14-15 “Tea with Troy” – Director Troy Couillard of the Office of Student Assessment will highlight important information and tasks for District Assessment Coordinators (DACs) and others that work with assessments.

Other Wisconsin Assessments

Assessment for ELLs

The W-APT™ measures the English language proficiency of students who have recently arrived in the U.S. or in a particular district. It can help to determine whether or not a child is in need of English language instructional services, and if so, at what level.

ACCESS for ELLs® is designed to measure English language proficiency. It is a large-scale test that addresses the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) Consortium’s English Language Proficiency Standards that form the core of Wisconsin’s approach to instructing and testing English language learners. 

Alternate ACCESS for ELLs is an assessment of English language proficiency for students in grades 1 -12 who are classified as English language learnersand have significant cognitive disabilities that prevent their meaningful participation in the ACCESS for ELLs assessment.

Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS)

PALS is a research based screening, diagnostic, and progress monitoring tool. Wisconsin teachers use PALS to identify students at risk of developing reading difficulties, diagnose students' knowledge of literacy fundamentals, monitor progress, and plan instruction that targets students' needs. Student data collected from PALS provides a direct means of matching literacy instruction to specific literacy needs.

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

NAEP is a survey assessment; each year a sample of schools are selected to participate.  It provides results at the state and national level and produces the Nation's Report Card. Districts that receive Title 1 funds agree to have schools participate, if selected, in Main/State NAEP in grades 4 and 8 reading and mathematics.


Wisconsin Student Assessment Windows for 2015-16 (information is tentative and subject to change): for more detailed information about each assessment go to the left navigation bar choose the assessment then click on the calendar option for that assessment. Printable version of 2015-16 Wisconsin Student Assessment Windows (Updated version coming soon)




September 14 – October 9

PALS 1-2 Assessment Window

October 12 – November 6

PALS 4K-K Assessment Window

December 7

ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 and Alternate ACCESS for ELL Test Window Opens




January 11 –  February 19

PALS 4K-2 (optional) Assessment Window

January 25 - March 11

NAEP Assessment Window

February 5

ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 and Alternate ACCESS for ELL Test Window Closes

March 1

The ACT Plus Writing Grade 11 Assessment

March 1-15

The ACT Plus Writing Assessment Window for Students Testing with Accommodations

March 2

ACT WorkKeys Grade 11 Assessment

March 2-16

ACT WorkKeys Assessment Window for Students Testing with Accommodations

March 15

The ACT Plus Writing Grade 11 Makeup Day

March 16

ACT WorkKeys Grade 11 Makeup Day

March TBD – May TBD

Grades 3-8 ELA and Mathematics Assessment Window (Vendor TBD)

March TBD – May TBD Grades 4, 8, and 10 Science and Social Studies Assessment Window (Vendor TBD)

March TBD – May TBD

DLM - ELA and Mathematics Grades 3-11 and for Science at Grades 4 and 8-11 Assessment Window 

April 25 - May 27

ACT Aspire Grades 9-10 Assessment Window

April 25 – May 20

PALS 4K-2 Assessment Window


Quick Contacts


Viji Somasundaram


Jennifer Teasdale


Kristen Burton


Audrey Lesondak


Phil Cranley


Duane Dorn


Peggy Roush


Angela Dugas


For questions about this information, contact