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

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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" 

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.

AUGUST 2015 Tea with Troy


August 2015 Tea with Troy PPT

Wisconsin State Assessment Timelines

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 




September 14 – October 9

PALS 1-2

October 12 – November 6


December 7

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




January 25 - March 11

NAEP (for selected schools only)

February 5

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

March 1-16

March 1 - The ACT Plus Writing Grade 11

March 15 - The ACT Plus Writing Grade 11 Makeup Day

March 2 - ACT WorkKeys Grade 11

March 16 - ACT WorkKeys Grade 11 Makeup Day

March 1-15 - The ACT Plus Writing for Students Testing with Accommodations

March 2-16 - ACT WorkKeys for Students Testing with Accommodations

March 28 – May 20 (tentative)

New Assessment  (TBD) – ELA, and Mathematics Grades 3-8

March 28 – May 20 (tentative)

New Assessment  (TBD) – Science and Social Studies Grades 4, 8, and 10

March 28 – May 20 (tentative)

DLM – ELA and Mathematics Grades 3-11, and Science Grades 4 and 8-11

April 25 – May 27

ACT Aspire Grades 9-10

April 25 – May 20



Quick Contacts


Viji Somasundaram


Jennifer Teasdale


Kristen Burton


Audrey Lesondak


Phil Cranley


Duane Dorn


Peggy Roush


Angela Dugas


For questions about this information, contact