The Foundations oReading Test (FoRT)  is a requirement by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Beginning on January 31, 2014, candidates in Wisconsin applying for an initial teaching license in Kindergarten through Grade Five or Special Education, or for licensure as a Reading Teacher or Reading Specialist are required to take and pass a test of reading instruction knowledge and skills. This test is administered by the Evaluation Systems group of the Pearson Company.

The University of Wisconsin - La Crosse requires that the FoRT must be taken and passed by teacher candidates prior to the student teaching semester. Candidates must have a passing score on file with the School of Education by the deadline established and communicated by the Teacher Certification Officer in order to be approved for student teaching.

Who has to take the FoRT? expanding section

Effective January 31, 2014, applicants for initial licensure as an elementary teacher (grades K-5, EC, EC-MC, MC-EA), a special education teacher, a reading teacher, or reading specialist must receive a passing score of 240 or higher on the Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test.  A complete list of relevant licenses requiring the FoRT is below. In-service teachers wanting to add one or more of these areas to their licensure may also need to pass the test - please check with the SOE Certification Officer for more information.  

  • Early Childhood - Middle Childhood (71-1777) 
  • Middle Childhood - Early Adolescence (72-1777) 
  • Middle Childhood - Early Adolescence Cross Categorical Special Education (72-1801) 
  • Early Adolescence - Adolescence Cross Categorical Special Education (73-1801) 
  • Reading Teacher (1316) 
  • Reading Specialist (5017) 
The Foundations of Reading Test is in addition to the current content testing requirements for each license as outlined on the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction website.
What should I know about the FoRT? expanding section

Additional information is available on the NES INC website.

Format of the test: The FoRT is a computer-based test with 100 multiple-choice questions and two (2) written essay scenario analysis answers. 

Time: 4 hours, plus 15 min for the computer-based tutorial and non-disclosure agreement

Testing Dates: The FoRT is available year round by appointment. Test appointments are available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Testing Sites: Computer-based testing sites are located nationwide. 

Test Fee: The cost for taking the Foundations of Reading Test is $139. 

Your registration is valid for one year from the date of issue. If you do not schedule a test appointment and take your test within one year, or withdraw your registration within one year, your registration will expire and you will receive no refund or credit of any kind. 

Eligible candidates may apply for testing accommodations:  Examinees with documented physical, learning, or cognitive disabilities may be eligible for alternative testing arrangements. Additionally, examinees for whom English is not a primary language may be eligible for an extension of testing time.

Testing Policy: When you register for the FoRT, you must agree to abide by all the rules. All policies are available on the http://www.wi.nesinc.com website. 

Passing Score: Teacher candidates who apply for Wisconsin licensure on or after September 1, 2014 need a passing score of 240 on the FoRT. This score was set as of July 11. 2013. 

Score Reports: Teacher candidates receive a receipt of completion upon finishing the test. Score reports are released within five (5) weeks of testing. 

Getting score reports: Your FoRT score report will be emailed to you if you requested this service when you registered for the test. Score reports are also posted to your account as PDF documents for 45 days. You may view, print, and/or save your PDF document for your records. Your account contains your complete history of testing and includes each test you took and the date each was taken. 

Score Reporting: After completing the FoRT, your test scores are reported to you, to the state through which you registered for the test, and to any other institution(s) or state(s) you indicate as a score recipient when you registered.

Where can I find resources to prepare for the FoRT? expanding section

The website: http://www.wi.nesinc.com has resources available for preparing to take the FoRT.

Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Study Guide 

This study guide was created and compiled by Jennifer Arenson Yaeger in October 2013. 

If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the MTEL Study Guide she developed for use with universities and individuals contact her directly at jenayaeger@gmail.com for more information. 

This Department of Educational Studies website has links to resources available for teacher candidates. 

  • Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Practice Test
    This practice test includes multiple choice items and written essay scenarios. 
  • Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Practice Test explanation
    This practice test includes multiple choice items with the explanations for why choices are correct or incorrect, as well as both strong and weak examples of the essay scenario answers to compare with what you wrote. 
  • UW-La Crosse School of Education Wisconsin Reading Test Practice D2L site. 
    This D2L site includes the following Content modules: 

Test Information 

  • FoRT Test Objectives 
  • FoRT Practice Test 
  • Fort Practice Test Explanation of Correct Responses 
  • UW-Oshkosh Wisconsin Reading Test Study Guide with Practice Questions 
  • UW-Madison Wisconsin Reading Test Powerpoint Overview with Practice Questions 
  • Test Information Checklist 

UWL Foundations of Reading Test Seminar videos and PowerPoint presentations 

  • Seminar #1 Word Structure & Vocabulary video 
  • Seminar #1 Word Structure & Vocabulary PowerPoint presentation slides 
  • Seminar#2 Phonemic & Phonological Awareness video 
  • Seminar#2 Phonemic & Phonological Awareness PowerPoint presentation slides 
  • Seminar #3 Phonics video 
  • Seminar #3 Phonics PowerPoint presentation slides 
  • Seminar #4 Literacy Assessment video
  • Seminar #4 Literacy Assessment PowerPoint presentation slides
  • Seminar #5 Literacy Comprehension video 
  • Seminar #5 Literacy Comprehension PowerPoint presentation slides 
  • UWL FoRT Seminar Checklist 

Foundations of Reading Development 

  • UW Madison Structural Analysis practice
  • UW Madison Phonics practice 
  • UW Madison Phonemic Awareness practice 
  • UW Madison Early Reading practice 
  • UW Madison Terminology questions 
  • UW Madison Terminology answers 
  • UW Madison Word Parts questions 
  • UW Madison Word Parts answers 
  • UW Madison Scenario questions 
  • UW Madison Scenario answers 
  • UW Madison Phonemic Awareness, etc. questions 
  • UW Madison Phonemic Awareness, etc. answers 
  • Foundations of Reading Development checklist 

Development of Reading Comprehension 

  • UW Madison Comprehension practice 
  • UW Madison Vocabulary practice 
  • Development of Reading Comprehension checklist 

Reading Assessment and Instruction 

  • UW Madison Assessment of Strengths and Weaknesses questions 
  • UW Madison Assessment of strengths 
  • Reading Assessment and Instruction checklist 

Contact Dr. Ann Epstein (aepstein@uwlax.edu) or Dr. Yuko Iwai (yiwai@uwlax.edu) with any questions or concerns about the D2L site. 

When should I take the FoRT? expanding section

It is recommended that teacher candidates take the FoRT after completing the second literacy course required in their teacher education program (EDS 318*).

Early Childhood - Middle Childhood (EC-MC) and Middle Childhood - Early Adolescence (MC-EA) majors, and Special Education minors are required to take:

  • EDS 308: Foundations of Literacy 
  • EDS 318: Literacy Methods I *

Early Childhood - Middle Childhood (EC-MC) and Middle Childhood - Early Adolescence (MC-EA) majors are also required to take a third literacy course concurrent with their Field I experience:

  • EDS 418: Literacy Methods II
  • There is a special course fee associated with EDS 318 that is aligned with the purchase of a fee voucher to take the WI Foundations of Reading Test (FORT). This special course fee is in place in order to best support successful completion of this benchmark assessment. UWL teacher candidates seeking these licenses must have a passing score on the FoRT on file with the SOE Certification Officer prior to being eligible to student teach. Experience has shown that teacher candidates are most successful in passing the FoRT when they attempt the test soon after completing EDS 318. Therefore, as a condition of completion of EDS 318, students must use their FoRT voucher to register for the FoRT with a test date scheduled within 6 months following completion of the course. A screen shot of the registration confirmation or a copy of a confirmation email should be sent to your course instructor. No grade will be awarded until evidence of the scheduled test date has been received.

UWL teacher candidates seeking these licenses must have a passing score on the FoRT on file with the School of Education by the deadline established and communicated by the Teacher Certification Officer in order to be approved for student teaching.

Why is the FoRT a requirement? expanding section

As a result of the Wisconsin Read to Lead Task Force recommendations, ACT 166, a new statutory provision was created in 2011. 

The specific statute 118.19 (14) puts into place a required content test in Foundations of Reading for all Grade K-5 teachers, special education teachers, reading teachers, and reading specialists seeking initial licensure as of January 2014. 

The ACT 166 SECTION 21. 118.19 (14) statute reads: 

(a) The department may not issue an initial teaching license that authorizes the holder to teach in grades kindergarten to 5 or in special education, an initial license as a reading teacher, or an initial license as a reading specialist, unless the applicant has passed an examination identical to the Foundations of Reading test administered in 2012 as part of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure. The department shall set the passing cut score on the examination at a level no lower than the level recommended by the developer of the test, based on this state's standards. 

(c) Any teacher who passes the examination under par. (a) shall notify the department, which shall add a notation to the teacher's license indicating that he or she passed the examination. 

ACT 166 SECTION 28. Initial applicability. 

(1) TEACHING LICENSE. The treatment of section 118.19 (14) (a) of the statutes first applies to an application for a teaching license received by the department of public instruction on January 1, 2014. 

During the Biennial Budget Session, a free-standing motion was made on 5/21/2013 during the Joint Finance Committee to delay the initial applicability date. As a result of the motion, the budget bill as modified by the Joint Finance Committee is as follows: 

SECTION 2365r. 2011 Wisconsin Act 166, section 28 (1) is amended to read: 

[2011 Wisconsin Act 166] Section 28 (1) TEACHING LICENSE. The treatment of section 118.19 (14) (a) of the statutes first applies to an application for a teaching license received by the department of public instruction on January 31, 2014.

How do I register for the FoRT? expanding section

Registration Information: You can contact the Counseling and Testing Center on the UWL campus for information: 

  • 2106 Centennial Hall 
  • Phone: 608.785.8704 

Or, you can go to the following website: http://www.wi.nesinc.com

Retake Policy: Teacher candidates who do not meet the benchmark score of 240 may retake the test. To retake the test, you must complete the registration process again after a waiting period of 30 days