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 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

4-16-14 “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. For a handout with links mentioned in the April Tea with Troy click here.

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.

ACT Aspire Early High School and Workeys

ACT Aspire™ Early High School - ACT Aspire assesses student readiness in English, math, reading, science, and writing. ACT Aspire is an online assessment in Wisconsin except for students who require accommodations through Braille, Large Print or American Sign Language who will take ACT Aspire in a paper and pencil format.

ACT® WorkKeys® - ACT WorkKeys is a job skills assessment system that helps employers select, hire, train, develop, and retain a high-performance workforce. This series of tests measures foundational and soft skills and offers specialized assessments to target institutional needs. ACT WorkKeys will be a paper and pencil test in Wisconsin for the 2015 administration.

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.


For the 2015-2016 assessment calendar DPI will make every effort to conduct the assessments close to the same schedule as 2014-2015. As soon as we have definitive calendar information on any of our assessments for the coming year, we will post those dates and list them as final. 

Assessment Windows for 2014-15: 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 Assessment Windows




September 15 – October 10

PALS 1-2 Assessment Window

October 6  – 24

ACT Aspire – Grade 9 Assessment Window

October 13  – 31

DLM – Grade 9 Assessment Window

October 13 – November 7

PALS 4K-K Assessment Window

October 27 – November 7

WKCE & WAA-SwD Science and Social Studies Grades 4, 8, and 10 Assessment Window

December 1

ACCESS/ELL Assessment Window Opens

December 15

ACCESS/ELL 2.0 Online Field Test Window Opens




January 12 –  February 20

PALS 4K-2 (optional) Assessment Window

January 26-March 6  NAEP Assessment Window

February 6

ACCESS/ELL Assessment Window Closes

February 20

ACCESS/ELL 2.0 Online Field Test Window Closes

March 3

The ACT Plus Writing Grade 11 Assessment

March 3-17

The ACT Plus Writing Assessment Window for Students Testing with Accommodations

March 4

ACT WorkKeys Grade 11 Assessment

March 4-18

ACT WorkKeys Assessment Window for Students Testing with Accommodations

March 17

The ACT Plus Writing Grade 11 Makeup Day

March 18

ACT WorkKeys Grade 11 Makeup Day

April 13 – May 29

Badger 3-8 Exam Window

March 30 – May 22

DLM - ELA and Mathematics Grades 3-11 Assessment Window

April 27 – May 22

ACT Aspire Grades 9-10 Assessment Window

April 27 – May 22

PALS 4K-2 Assessment Window


Quick Contacts


Viji Somasundaram

Assessment Program Coordinator




Jennifer Teasdale

Education Program Specialist

Smarter/WKCE and Webpage



Kristen Burton

Special Populations




Audrey Lesondak

Assessment for ELLs

W-APT, ACCESS and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs



Phil Cranley

Data and Student Demographics and Privacy



Duane Dorn

Test Security and PALS



Peggy Roush

High School Assessment

The ACT, ACT Aspire Early High School, ACT Workkeys



Angela Dugas




For questions about this information, contact