You are here

COVID-19 Assessment FAQs

Scroll questions or select a topic to jump to that section:

Updated 1/31/2022


Testing Requirements

Q. Are statewide assessments required for 2021-22?

A. Yes, state and federal law require the administration of statewide assessments; these laws remain unchanged. The Wisconsin statewide assessments include the ACCESS for ELLs, Forward Exam, DLM, Aspire, and the ACT assessments. All districts and schools plan for in-person testing. Remote (virtual) testing options are not available for statewide assessments.

Q. Does a school have to test if they are 100% virtual?

A. Yes, state and federal law require the administration of statewide assessments. This includes schools whose current instruction is 100% virtual. Virtual schools still need to safely provide an in-person, school proctored testing environment (e.g., schools or an alternate community setting). Remote (virtual) testing options are not available for statewide assessments.

Q. Where can a district or school find information to help begin planning for 2021-22 assessments?

A. The Strategies and Considerations for In-Person Assessment During a Pandemic (coming soon) provides considerations for district and school leaders for planning and administration of assessments this spring.

Back to Top


Administration

Q. Is there an online testing option for students who are learning 100% virtually?

A. There is no remote (virtual) option for statewide assessments. 

Q. Why is there no remote (virtual) testing option available?

A. At this time, our testing companies do not offer a remote assessment option. Proctored, on-site testing ensures standardized administration that includes equitable access to technology and optimal testing environments, test security, and validity.

Q. Has DPI made any changes to the statewide assessments this year in response to the pandemic?

A. For current administration changes to the statewide assessments please refer to the COVID-19 Assessment Updates webpage.

Q. Who may proctor a statewide assessment?

A. A qualified test administrator/proctor (TA) is an employed district staff member (including administrators, teachers, and paraprofessionals) who has been trained in test administration, test security, and appropriate use of test accommodations. This may also include student teachers who normally have responsibility for supervising students. Parent volunteers should not be allowed to proctor the examination. School personnel who are parents or guardians should not be allowed to proctor their own children. Please refer to specific assessment FAQs for additional requirements as they pertain to ACT, DLM, Forward, Aspire, and ACCESS for ELLs.

Q. How do we test students who are in other facilities (ex. a combination school/in-treatment facility)
A. Testing of students in these circumstances would happen the same way they would in a normal year. See specific assessment FAQ webpage for more information: ACT FAQ, DLM FAQ, Forward FAQ, Aspire FAQ, ACCESS for ELLs FAQ.

Q. Do we need to test homeless students who are still enrolled in our district?

A. Every student enrolled in the district is expected to participate in the assessment. 

Q. Do we need to test a student that has moved (even out of state) but is still doing virtual learning through our district?
A. Every student enrolled in the district is expected to participate in the assessment. If a student is enrolled virtually, they need to test. See specific assessment FAQ webpage for more information: ACT FAQ, DLM FAQ, Forward FAQ, Aspire FAQ, ACCESS for ELLs FAQ.

Q. Will technology set up be different if we need to test at an alternate site?

A. Contact the specific assessment’s helpdesk for information about technology set up. The Forward Exam has put out guidance for alternate site testing available on the Forward Exam Technology Resources webpage.

Q. When should districts begin planning and set up for testing?

A. District should be planning and preparing for set up as soon as possible. Device updates may be more difficult if students are off-site.

Q. What if I don’t have access to the school buildings to test students?

A: If schools are not open for in-person instruction, they still need to safely provide an in-person, school-proctored testing environment if the local health orders allow students and staff to be in school buildings. Districts may administer the assessments in an alternative setting (community center, church, library, etc.) if they are proctored by trained district staff and the local health guidelines are followed.

Back to Top


Parent Opt-out or Parent Refusal

Q. What do we do if a parent refuses to bring their child in for the statewide assessment?

A. Families have the right to opt-out of testing as they have in previous years. District and school staff do not have the authority to opt students out of testing. Only a student’s family may opt a student out of testing.

Q. Is there a letter or form a parent can sign opting their student out of statewide testing for this year?

A. DPI does not provide a form. Some districts choose to create a parent opt-out form in order to collect the same information for every family. The method by which you choose to collect the written request is a local decision.

Q. When is parent/guardian opt-out allowed?

A. When a parent or guardian requests that the student be excused from participating in the WSAS, this request must be honored at grades 4, 8, 9-11, per Wis. Stats. 118.30(2)(b)3. This request may come at any time during the testing window. All students excused by parent opt-out are marked as “not tested” students in school and district reporting determinations.

Q. How does a parent/guardian request an opt-out for their student?

A. A parent must submit a written request for student opt-out to the principal or the school board. Per Wis. Stats. 118.30(2)(b)3., if the student is in grades 4, 8, and 9-11 the request must be granted. However, if the student is not in the above mentioned grade levels, the decision to grant the request is at the discretion of the school board.

Q. Can families opt their child out of ACCESS for ELLs?

A. There are no statutory provisions allowing families to opt-out of the English language proficiency assessment (ACCESS or Alternate ACCESS). However, districts cannot mandate that a student participate in these assessments if a parent or guardian refuses.

Q. Can families opt their child out of the Reading Readiness assessment?

A. There are no statutory provisions allowing families to opt-out or the Reading Readiness assessments. However, districts cannot mandate that a student participate in these assessments if a parent or guardian refuses.

Q. Does a school have to take every parent opt-out in grades 3,5,6, and 7 before their board for approval?

A. How school boards choose to handle opt-outs is a local decision.

Q. Does a school need to acquire a written parent opt-out request from every parent who refuses to bring their child in for testing?

A. Acquiring a formal opt-out from a parent that refuses to bring a child in for testing will allow the district to focus on arrangements for students who will be participating.

Back to Top


Accountability

Q. How will participation affect our accountability (i.e., report cards) this year?
A. State Accountability

DPI publishes school and district test participation on school and district report cards for informational purposes only. That is, test participation has no impact on report card scoring. This rule has been effective since the 2016-17 report cards. Please note that a minimum two years of 20 full academic year tested students are required to generate a report card score.

Federal Accountability (ESSA)

ESSA requires Academic Achievement calculations to be based upon the greater of 95% of students enrolled for the full academic year or the actual number of students tested. Hence, schools that have student groups with lower than a 95% test participation rate are penalized. Wisconsin’s ESSA system applies this requirement by adjusting the denominator of the points-based proficiency rate calculation to the 95% tested level for schools testing below the required 95% rate. For example, if a middle school serving students in grades 6-8 had 100 full academic year students, but only 90 of these students participated in state assessments, the schools points-based proficiency rate is calculated by dividing the number of points by 95 (minimum participation required by ESSA) rather than 90 (the actual number of students tested). This results in a lowered achievement score for that school.

Back to Top