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Hillsboro students meet expectations
DPIs new district report cards use multiple measures to describe student performance
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The Hillsboro school district met expectations on the preliminary report cards issued Sept. 17 by the state Department of Public Instruction.

Hillsboro received an overall accountability score of 72.3, which fell into the “meets expectations” category.  Schools with an overall accountability schore between 63 and 72.9 fell into that category.

The district missed the “exceeds expectations” category by seven-tenths of one percentage point. Schools with a score between 73-82.9 fell into that category.

Hillsboro’s score placed it second in the eight-school Scenic Bluffs Conference (SBC), trailing only Cashton, which scored 76.7 on the report cards. The six other SBC schools’ scores also fell into the “meets expectations” category.

Hillsboro students received a score of 63.6 out of 100 in the “student growth” category, which exceeded the state average of 60.6. The district received a score of 71.9  in student achievement,   64.8 in closing gaps in reading, mathematics and graduation rates, and 89 for postsecondary readiness.

The district exceeded the state average in three of the four categories–closing gaps being the lone exception, where the state average was 66.8, two points ahead of Hillsboro’s.

Along the report card’s five accountability ratings, nine of the state’s 424 public school districts significantly exceed expectations, 134 exceed expectations, and 269 meet expectations. One school district, the Norris School District, was not rated. Milwaukee Public Schools failed to meet expectations. Ten districts met few expectations. Nine districts had point deductions from their priority area scores for missing student engagement indicators. To have no deductions for student engagement, districts and schools must have had test participation that was greater than 95 percent, absenteeism of less than 13 percent, and a dropout rate of less than 6 percent.

“These preliminary district and school report cards provide valuable information about education in Wisconsin,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “They offer a starting point for schools and districts to plan improvements. Additionally, report cards show how Wisconsin can continue to refine its accountability system to truly serve the education community, parents, policymakers, and the public.”

District report cards are similar in format to school report cards first issued last year. Districts and schools are evaluated on four priority areas: student achievement in reading and mathematics on statewide assessments; student growth in those assessed areas; closing gaps for reading and mathematics achievement and graduation, based on student subgroups; and postsecondary readiness, which uses several measures as predictors of college and career readiness. Accountability is calculated on a scale of zero to 100.

District report cards are calculated for the district as a whole, rather than grade-level bands previously used for No Child Left Behind accountability.

The report cards were develope by Gov. Scott Walker, legislative leaders and others. The state had to report results in order to obtain a waiver under No Child Left Behind.

The 2012-13 school report cards are based on data for 2,111 schools. Overall, 1,910 schools received ratings, and 88.1 percent of those schools meet, exceed, or significantly exceed expectations, up from 85.8 percent in the 2011-12 report cards. Fifty-eight schools failed to meet expectations and 169 met few expectations. There were 201 schools that were not rated because there wasn’t enough data because the school was too small. One hundred and four schools had deductions for missing the test participation, absenteeism, or dropout rate student engagement indicators.

Overall, 1,401 schools received the same accountability rating for 2012-13 as they had last year, and 651 schools had a change in their rating. Another 32 schools that were not rated last year received ratings for 2012-13, and 27 schools were new and therefore did not have accountability ratings last year.

Based on feedback from the 2011-12 school report cards, the Department of Public Instruction made adjustments to calculations for several indicators, meaning this year’s school-level report cards are not directly comparable to those issued last year. Changes in accountability scores and movement between accountability ratings between the years may be due to changes in student performance or may be due to changes in how scores were calculated. Schools had a review period during which possible data-related issues were presented to the DPI to adjust accountability scores or ratings.