Required Testing

Required Testing

VAHS has a variety of required testing to perform on an annual basis, with students. Additional information on testing will be updated on this page.

Why are children in Wisconsin required to take standardized assessments?

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires all states to test all students in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics once in high school. ESSA also requires students be assessed in Science once each grade span 7-9, and 10-12 grades). Student performance on these assessments is reported in proficiency categories and used for accountability determination at the school, district and state levels. Wisconsin State statute also requires students to take grade 9 and 10 assessments as well as the social studies test. These tests together create the Wisconsin Student Assessment System.

The Wisconsin Student Assessment System is a statewide program designed to provide information about what students know in core academic areas and whether they can apply what they know. At the high school level, The WSAS includes:
- The
Wisconsin Forward Exam Social Studies for grade 10
ACT Aspire at grades 9 and 10
The ACT with Writingat grade 11 for Reading, English, Mathematics, Science, and Writing


The ACT with writing helps students understand what they need to learn next so they can build rigorous high school course plans and identify career areas that align with their interests.  Wisconsin high schools are certified as ACT state testing sites. Scores from the administration of the ACT with writing (if taken with ACT Standard Time or ACT-approved accommodations) can be used by students for a variety of purposes including college admission, scholarships, course placement, and NCAA eligibility. 

There are two ways students can take the ACT. Students may sign up for a National Test Date or students may wait and take the ACT on the Wisconsin State testing date:

- National Test Dates- To register for the ACT on a National Test Date, students must go to the website, there they can choose a location and a date that best fits their schedule. The remaining National Test Dates for this school year are: - The cost for registering to take the ACT on a National Test Date is $55 for the ACT without writing and $70 for the ACT with writing.  - Wisconsin State testing date-on this date all 11th grade students in the state of Wisconsin take the ACT. Students will automatically be registered to take the ACT on this date. Since this is a state mandated test, there is no cost to students. The date for the Wisconsin State testing is March 9, 2021.

ACT Aspire

The ACT Aspire is a summative assessment that measures what students have learned in the areas of: English, Reading, Math, Science, and Writing. ACT Aspire scores may predict how a student will perform on the ACT when they reach 11th grade. ACT Aspire scores may also be used to identify students who need academic interventions or a more rigorous curriculum earlier in their high school careers.

The ACT Aspire is given each year to students in the 9th and 10th grades. The ACT Aspire is given digitally through a secure app on the iPad, however students must take this exam at school. 

The ACT Aspire will be given during the 2020-2021 school year in the late spring. 


During the 2015-16 school year, Wisconsin rolled out a new assessment called the Wisconsin Forward Exam. The Exam is designed to gauge how well students are doing in relation to the Wisconsin Academic Standards.  These standards outline what students should know and be able to do in order to be college and career ready. At the high school level, the Forward Exam is administered online in the spring of each school year in 10th grade in the area of Social Studies. 

The Forward Exam is a high quality, research-based online assessment that meets Wisconsin’s expectations. It is a customized assessment with innovative item types that includes test items reviewed and approved by Wisconsin educators.

The Forward Exam will be administered to 10th grade students through their Social Studies class in the late spring of the 2020-2021 school year. 


The PSAT/NMSQT is an optional assessment that students may wish to take. The PSAT/NMSQT is the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. 

PSAT/NMSQT scores are used to identify National Merit Scholars and award merit scholarships. More than 3.4 million high school students (mostly juniors and sophomores) take this nationwide, multiple-choice test every year.

The PSAT is not used for college admissions applications, but it is the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship. Often students use the PSAT as practice for the SAT and ACT.

Typically the PSAT/NMSQT is held in the fall, however this year it will be held at VAHS on January 26th, 2021. The cost for the PSAT/NMSQT this year is $17.

Freshman and sophomore interested in taking it next school year should look for information being sent out during the summer. The fall 2021 date for PSAT/NMSQT is October 16, 2021. 


STAR is a reading and math screener that learners take on the iPad.  The math screener is taken by all Algebra 1 students. The reading screener is taken by all ninth grade students, tenth grade students in English 2, and all students in the tenth through twelfth grades who have not scored at a proficient level on previous reading screeners.  

Each STAR screener takes most learners between 20 and 30 minutes to complete. Learners will take the screener two times during the 2020-2021 school year, either in the fall or winter, and then again in the spring.  Teachers will use this data along with additional information to guide instructional decisions and collaborate with learners to set goals. 

If you have questions regarding the ACT, ACT Aspire, Forward, PSAT, or STAR assessments, please contact the VAHS Testing Coordinator, Cami Streets, at

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