Skills Check Sessions for Waterford Upstart Families

The Waterford Upstart Skills Check uses a powerful tool called the Waterford Assessment of Core Skills (WACS) to measure your child's initial reading abilities and show their progress. 

Your child will complete two Skills Checks—one at the beginning of the program and one at the end. Regular daily sessions are different. Daily sessions present material at your child's current learning level and are not as challenging.

Skills Check Format

The Skills Check is hosted by Wyatt, a talking marmot cowboy who encourages the child to “earn” a sheriff’s deputy badge, which they get by answering the assigned questions.

Wyatt is encouraging and does not tell the child their score. He also doesn’t say whether they get an answer wrong.

Each child is measured on three to ten skill sets, depending on their reading level.

Wyatt walks each child through a tutorial at the beginning of the Check, as well as before each new skill set question. After each tutorial, the child completes the section, then Wyatt explains the next section.

The Skills Check adapts to each child’s level by giving more or less challenging questions, depending on whether they answer the previous question correctly.

If a child gets a question wrong, they are given a less challenging question. Once the student submits a correct answer, they are given a more challenging question until the program determines their literacy level. The student's next section will be determined based on their performance on the previous section.

The Skills Check records the child’s scores and assigns them to one of the following levels in each skill area (low to high):

  • Deficient
  • Developing
  • Proficient
  • Advanced

Once the final Skills Check is completed, you will receive your child’s score approximately 12-14 weeks after the end of the program.

Launching a Skills Check Session

Your child’s first session in Waterford Upstart will be the Skills Check. To launch the Skills Check session:

  1. Visit Waterford Upstart and log in to your account.
If you have not yet created an account, follow the link here for instructions.
  1. Select the Start button to the right of the Skills Check task.

This will begin your child’s Skills Check session. 

Do not select the Start button until your child is ready to start the Skills Check.
Skills Check GIF

Monitoring Your Child’s Skills Check Session

As your child progresses through the Skills Check, let them answer the questions on their own. Do not answer questions for them or give them hints. 

If your child is confused about a question, suggest that they pick their best guess. That way, you can make sure that the Skills Check measures their current skills accurately.

If your child takes too long to answer a question, a pop-up will appear on the screen prompting  your child to ask you for help. To continue the Skills Check, you’ll simply need to exit out of the pop-up window.

Pausing the Skills Check

If your child needs to pause the Skills Check for a few minutes, select the pause button on the top right side of the play window. Select the button again to resume the session for your child when they are ready.

If you need to pause the Skills Check for a longer amount of time and return to it at a later session:

  1. Select the back arrow on the browser. A pop-up window will appear asking you to confirm your choice.
  2. Choose OK to continue.

Pausing Skills Check GIF

This will save your progress and end your Skills Check session. Your child can resume it later on and start at the point where they left off.

Finishing the Skills Check Session

On average, the Skills Check takes approximately 20-30 minutes, but some children may need longer, depending on their pace. The session will end when the child completes the Skills Check or after 30 minutes have passed. 

If your child has not completed the Skills Check after 30 minutes, the program will tell your child it’s time for a break. You can then continue the Skills Check the next day by logging into Waterford Upstart and selecting the Start button again.

Once your child has completed the Skills Check, the program will award your child a deputy badge for completing the assignment. The program will update (this may take a few hours), and your child will then be able to begin daily Waterford Upstart sessions.

Completed Assessment screenshot

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