Most schools and school districts in the state of Wisconsin met or exceeded expectations on their annual report cards for the 2013-2014 school year, said the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) in a press release on Tuesday, Sept. 16.
“Most of our public schools and school districts are providing a solid education to our children, but we don’t want to rest on our laurels,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “These report cards are a good communication device to focus discussion among parents, schools and communities on how our schools and school districts are doing and how they can continue to improve.”
According to the press release, this is the second year for district report cards and the third year for school report cards.
Report cards evaluate schools and districts in 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.
The DPI stressed that the public should use caution in making comparisons of report cards across years because changes in accountability scores and movement between accountability ratings may be because of changes in how scores were calculated rather than due to changes in student performance.
Even when comparing area schools, the public should make sure they are comparing like to like. For instance in Lafayette County, the Darlington Community School District and Cuba City School District are broken down into an elementary/middle school score consisting of grades K-8 and a high school score consisting of 9-12, while Argyle School District, Benton School District and Belmont Community School District are broken down into an elementary score consisting of grades K-5 and a middle/high school score consisting of grades 6-12. Black Hawk School District and Shullsburg School District on the other hand had three separate school scores with an elementary score consisting of K-5, a middle or junior high school score consisting of 6-8 and a high school score consisting of grades 9-12.
DPI noted that for this year’s report cards there were some technical adjustments to calculations in order to improve fairness and accuracy and that even more changes for the testing and assessments related to report cards for the 2015-2016 school year are in progress.
Each school or district to receive a report card is given a numerical score between 0 and 100 which places each district or school into one of five accountability ratings.
A score between 83-100 is Significantly Exceeds Expectations, a score between 73-82.9 is Exceeds Expectations, a score between 63-72.9 is Meets Expectations, a score between 53-62.9 is Meets Few Expectations and a score between 0-52.9 is Fails to Meet Expectations.
Darlington Community School District received an overall district score of 75.6—Exceeds Expectations, while Darlington’s Elementary/Middle School (grades K-8) received a score of 76.6—Exceeds Expectations and Darlington High School (grades 9-12) received a score of 74.9—Exceeds Expectations.
“We are very proud of our report card,” said Darlington’s District Administrator, Denise Wellnitz. “We do need to work on our reading scores, but our math is quite good.”
Cuba City School District received a district score of 71.7—Meets Expectations, while the Cuba City Elementary School (grades K-8 received a score of 68.4—Meets Expectations and the Cuba City High School (grades 9-12) received a score of 87—Significantly Exceeds Expectations.
Shullsburg School District had a district score of 73.5—Exceeds Expectations. Breaking down into each of the district’s schools: Shullsburg Elementary (grades K-5) received a score of 74.3—Exceeds Expectations and Shullsburg Jr. High (grades 6-8) received a score of 71.5—Meets Expectations.
Shullsburg High School (grades 9-12) received an alternate rating of Satisfactory Progress. An Alternate Accountability process was added to the report card scoring this year for schools that don’t have the data necessary to calculate a standard report card, according to DPI.
That could mean schools with fewer than 20 full academic year students enrolled in test grades 3-8 and 10; schools without tested grades; schools exclusively serving at-risk students; new schools or K-2 schools without a direct feeder pattern.
These schools received alternate ratings of “Satisfactory Progress” or “Needs Improvement,” rather than numerical scores between 0 and 100. A total of 201 such schools received either an accountability index rating or an alternate rating for last year’s report cards.
Black Hawk School District received an overall rating of 71.2—Meets Expectations. The scores of the schools within the district were as follows: Black Hawk Elementary (grades K-5) received a score of 76.8—Exceeds Expectations, Black Hawk Middle School received a score of 68.7—Meets Expectations and Black Hawk High School received a score of 64.4—Meets Expectations.
Belmont Community School District received an overall district score of 72.3—Meets Expectations while Belmont Elementary (grades K-5) received a score of 77.5—Exceeds Expectations and Belmont High School (grades 6-12) got a score of 70.8—Meets Expectations.
Argyle School District had a district score of 70.8—Meets Expectations with Argyle Elementary (grades K-5) received a score of 74.8—Exceeds Expectations and Argyle High School (grades 6-12) received a score of 67.3—Meets Expectations.