On Friday, the Wyoming Department of Education learned that the U.S. Department of Education is suspending peer review of state assessment systems, effective immediately. According to a media release from Cindy Hill's office, who is the state superintendent of public instruction, the U.S. Department of Education is suspending review in order to look over and possibly revise the current peer review process.
The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) says that this action will allow states to focus their resources on the hard work necessary to prepare for, design and implement assessments that will provide a better measure of critical thinking skills - and complex student learning - to support good teaching and improved student outcomes.
The requirements for annual testing of reading, English Language Arts and mathematics in grades three through eight and once in high school remain in place.
Hill says Wyoming's system is currently considered “in process” and will continue until it undergoes peer review under the newly established review system - as the 2014 school year approaches.
Since the Wyoming Accountability in Education Act was signed into law, Hill says, the Wyoming Department of Education has been seeking approval from the DOE to substitute the ACT Plus Writing for the PAWS examination at grade 11.