Free WKCE Practice Test

The Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examinations (WKCE) are for all public students in the state of Wisconsin in grades 3-8 and 10. Student scores from the WKCE are one of a variety of criteria used to determine whether students will advance into grades 5 and 9 (from 4 and 8). Other criteria include academic performance, teacher recommendations, and others that may be determined by individual school boards. WKCE results are also used as a measure of accountability for school improvement and whether low-performing schools meet the Wisconsin proficiency standards. In addition, results meet the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 in regards to using assessments to determine student performance, as well as the federal Title I requirement to determine progress in schools.

Starting with the 2012-13 school year, the state raised the benchmark scores needed for students to reach the highest performance level. As a result, significantly fewer students scored "proficient" or "advanced" than in previous years. This drop reflected higher standards only and did not reflect a change in the overall abilities of the students in Wisconsin. The state is also revamping the current curriculum of the WKCE and by 2014-15 WKCE testing will no longer be used, with "S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Balanced Testing" to be used in its place. This is part of a nationwide change to Common Core State Standards.

Students in grades 3, 4, 6, and 7 take reading and mathematics exams. Students in grades 4, 8, and 10 take tests in reading and mathematics, in addition to science, language arts, writing and social studies. Calculators are not allowed to be used for the mathematics portion of the exam, as the section assesses mental computation. The exams are given in the fall of each school year. The various exams use both multiple-choice and short-answer questions. The writing assessment asks students to write a single essay based on a prompt they are given. Parents of students who take the WKCE are often given sample questions on their school district's website. In addition, teachers also spend some classroom time preparing students for their upcoming exams. Teachers may opt to send home with their students a "Practice Activities" book in advance of the exam. Parents can choose to excuse their children from taking the WKCE; however, if a parent excuses their child from one section of the exam, the child must be excused from all sections.

The reading exam measures standards such as reading/literature, writing, oral language, language, media and technology, and research and inquiry. Results of the WKCE are provided in two different ways: a scaled score and a performance level. The scaled score is a numerical result representing the number of questions answered correctly as well as their value. The performance level takes the scaled score and turns it into a rating of advanced, proficient, basic, or minimal performance. "Advanced" means that students demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of rigorous subject matter. "Proficient" means students demonstrate a "solid understanding" of challenging subject matter. "Basic" means students demonstrate partial mastery. "Minimal performance" means students demonstrate limited knowledge, in addition to a limited ability to effectively apply knowledge and skills.

Testing may take place over several days, and schools are allowed to set their own schedules. However, the reading/language arts exam is required to be administered over a single day due to test security issues that could result from it being taken over multiple days. The total time required for complete test administration can range from three and a half to six and a half hours (this refers to actual testing time given to students, and does not include time for setup, instructions, or breaks). Students taking only the reading and mathematics exams (grades 3, 5, 6, and 7) need no more than three hours and 45 minutes to complete the entire exam. Students in grades 4, 8, and 10 need from five hours and 45 minutes to six hours and 25 minutes to take the entire exam (as they also take the science, social studies, and language arts/writing exams). Teachers are advised to administer the exam to students in their homeroom. However, the exams can be administered in smaller groups, as well as on a one-by-one basis, but only by a staff member trained in proper test administration procedures.


Last Updated: 03/01/2017

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