Schools receive first state report cardsMonday, Oct. 22, Wisconsin released report cards and numbered grades for every school in the state. These were eagerly and probably anxiously awaited by most school officials, teachers, administrators, board members and district supporters.
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
Monday, Oct. 22, Wisconsin released report cards and numbered grades for every school in the state. These were eagerly and probably anxiously awaited by most school officials, teachers, administrators, board members and district supporters.
Each school in the River Falls School District achieved a numbered score that says it “meets expectations” or “exceeds expectations.”
As the scoring-legend graphic indicates, numbered grades start at zero and go up to 100, with the “fails to meet expectations” score at 52.9 or below.
- Greenwood Elementary......79.3
- Montessori Elementary.........79.4
- Rocky Branch Elementary.......73.2
- Westside Elementary...........71.4
- Meyer Middle School...........73.5
- High school...................79.6
The site includes a ‘not applicable’ score for the Renaissance Academy because its ‘sample size’ is too small to score by the new criteria.
The state issued 2,118 public-school report cards.
- 68 schools scored 83-100 and “significantly exceed” expectations
- 637 schools scored 73-83.9 and “exceed” expectations
- 906 schools scored 63-72.9 and “meet” expectations
- 190 schools scored 53-62.9 and “meet few” expectations
- 76 schools scored 0-52.9 and “fail to meet” expectations
- 241 schools were not rated*
*According to a news release from the state, some public schools earned no rating because they’re “new or alternative schools that are too small or lack sufficient assessment data to receive an overall accountability rating.”
RFSD’s Academic Services Director Mike Johnson said the scores are part of a new statewide accountability system for public schools that replaces the No-Child-Left-Behind federal standards.
Though parents and citizens received information that the report cards would be coming, the scores weren’t released until Monday, Oct. 22, after a delay to work out kinks in the data.
Johnson agrees the new scores rate schools by a new, more rigorous standard that shows a lesser number of students as proficient or advanced on standardized tests in reading and math achievement.
Johnson said the new rating system takes into account the “achievement gap” recognized between the most advanced students and those who may live in and be disadvantaged by poverty or have learning disabilities.
The state recalculated last year’s Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam (WKCE) scores according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress scale, explains Johnson. It was the same test but analyzed at a new and finer level of detail.
Scores still take into account reading and math skills, as well as the number of students who take achievement tests such as the ACT.
“When parents and staff look at achievement on this new report card, they will see lower proficient and advanced levels,” he said. “Our kids are not performing any lower, what we are saying is there is a higher bar in place for our children to be proficient or advanced.”
Johnson points out that unlike past measures that gauge achievement by looking at one year’s scores, the new standards gather a cumulative score based on three years’ worth of performance.
The ‘new way’ produces data for four priority criteria: 1) student achievement, 2) student growth, 3) achievement gap, and 4) on-track graduation and post-secondary readiness.
Johnson said all school districts have until Nov. 2 to dissect their data and ask for either clarification or correction of it.
He said the ultimate goal is to help every student in school succeed, graduate and be ready to pursue further education and a career.
The school report cards are available online at the Department of Instruction website, as well as the report cards themselves, listed by district for every public school in the state: http://dpi.wi.gov/reportcards/districts.html, as well as at the site Wisconsin Information Network for Successful School, where people can see the data presented, arranged and analyzed many other ways: http://dpi.wi.gov/sig/index.html
Johnson is also available to answer questions from the district office, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 715-425-1800.
Read more detail on this story in in the Oct. 25 print edition of the River Falls Journal.