Now that online testing has all but taken over Wisconsin state assessments, students need to sharpen digital technology skills in order to do well on Wisconsin Forward Exams and other state tests. With the right platform, teachers can gain insights on what learning standards their students need to focus on — while at the same time, students can practice the tech skills they need to ace the Wisconsin Forward Exams.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Wisconsin Forward Exams and how to prepare your students with virtual practice tests.
What Is a Wisconsin Forward Exam?
Part of the Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS), the Wisconsin Forward Exam is a collection of tests designed to assess students starting in grade 3 in English language arts, math, science, and social studies. Developed by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), the Wisconsin Forward Exam tests against Wisconsin Academic Standards and is primarily administered online.
The Wisconsin Forward Exam tests the following subjects and grade levels:
- English language arts (grades 3–8)
- Mathematics (grades 3–8)
- Science (grades 4 and 8)
- Social studies (grades 4, 8, 10)
The online platform used to administer the Wisconsin Forward Exam includes accommodations and supports for English language learners and students who have disabilities.
Qualifying students with significant cognitive disabilities may take the Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM), Wisconsin’s alternate assessment, instead of the Wisconsin Forward Exam. DLM covers the same subjects and grade levels as the standard assessment, but tests against the Wisconsin Essential Elements, alternative standards that align with Wisconsin Academic Standards. DLM is also an online assessment, but may be administered one-on-one for students that require additional support.
Wisconsin students in grades 9 and 10 take the ACT Aspire as their annual summative assessment. ACT Aspire covers English, reading, math, science, and writing, and provides an idea of how students will perform on the ACT in grade 11. ACT Aspire test results can help students (and educators) identify weaknesses to work on. The test is administered online, except for students whose disabilities require paper tests.
Students in grade 11 take the ACT with writing. The test serves dual purpose as their annual summative accountability assessment and a college admissions exam. The ACT may be administered on paper or computer.
English language learners in Wisconsin have their English language skills assessed with the ACCESS for ELLs test. English learners with significant cognitive disabilities take the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs.
The testing windows for the Wisconsin Forward Exam tend to run from mid-March through April. Visit the Wisconsin DOE website for more details on state assessments windows.
How to Prep Your Students for Wisconsin Forward Exams
As online assessments, Wisconsin Forward Exams require students to navigate through digital questions and provide their answers via mouse and keyboard in a virtual format. Sometimes, questions go beyond basic multiple choice and involve digital functions like drag-and-drop, dropdown, graph building, and table filling.
These technology-enhanced questions provide greater insight into a student’s learning: beyond seeing whether or not a student arrived at the correct answer, these questions can assess the student’s problem-solving process.
So how do you make sure your students are ready for this kind of test?
The answer is simple: virtual test practice.
With practice tests in a virtual environment, your students can learn and hone their digital skills so that navigating the Wisconsin Forward Exam on test day is easy as ABC. They’ll build confidence in their ability to get from point A to point B on the virtual test, and they won’t be caught off-guard by questions that ask them to read passages on-screen, create equations, or type out an essay response.
Administer these virtual practice tests via Edulastic, and you’ll be able to see how your students score on specific Wisconsin Academic Standards. All you have to do is map your practice test questions to the appropriate standards (we’ll show you how!), and when your students’ answers come back, you’ll have the insights you need to adjust instruction and make sure your students are well prepared for test day.
Practice for Wisconsin Forward Exams in Edulastic
A free Edulastic account enables you to administer practice tests to your students — and gain insights on your students’ learning that you can use to guide classroom instruction. The first step is setting up your free account, and the next steps are just as easy.
Ready to get started?