MMSD exceeds expectations according to latest school report card

Empty classroom desks

MADISON, Wis. — The Madison Metropolitan School District exceeded expectations in the 2020-21 school year, according to the latest school district report cards released by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

The district’s “accountability rating” was 70.2, according to the DPI’s report card. The minimum rating needed to exceed expectations is 70. The rating is calculated by looking at four main areas: Achievement, Growth, Target Group Outcomes, and On-Track to Graduation.

MMSD was given a 59.1 Achievement score, which measures the knowledge and skill levels of students compared to state and national standards. It is calculated using reading and math performances by students in the Wisconsin Student Assessment System.

MMSD’s Growth score, which shows how much students’ knowledge of reading and math changes each year, was 75.5. Because report cards were not issued last year, this statistic measures growth from last year and the year before.

If students show progress towards higher performance levels each year, the district receives positive credit. If students do not show progress or drop below proficiency, the district receives negative credit. The score is designed so that high-performing schools with little room to grow are not penalized.

When it comes to Target Group Outcomes, a metric showing how students with the lowest test scores in their schools are performing, MMSD scored 61.1. The score is a combination of achievement, growth, chronic absenteeism, and attendance or graduation rate.

For example, MMSD’s Target Group Achievement score was 14.9, and the Target Group Absenteeism score was 68.5. The district’s On-Track to Graduation score was 78.1.

The Target Group Outcomes score attempts to show how successful schools are at achieving educational milestones that predict success after high school.

Contributors to the score are factors including chronic absenteeism and graduation rate. MMSD’s chronic absenteeism rate score was 81.2, and the graduation rate score was 87.7.

Some districts struggle with pandemic

Among other districts in southern Wisconsin, Janesville was deemed to be meeting few expectations, with an accountability score of 56.8

“We know the challenges our students and educators faced while dealing with the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic,” Janesville Superintendent Steve Pophal said in a statement Tuesday. “Those challenges, as well as others, impacted student achievement across the state.”

Beloit and Lake Holcombe were the lowest scoring districts in Wisconsin, with an accountability score of 46.9.

The two districts were the only public school districts in the state to fail to meet expectations.

Comparisons to 2018-2019

The DPI did not hand out report cards last year, however, the department did release data for the 2018-19 school year.

That year, MMSD’s Accountability score was 72.3.  While the score is higher than the 2020-21 school year, at the time it did not exceed expectations, only meeting them.

MMSD’s Achievement score for 2018-19 was 59.5 and the Growth score was 75.5. The district’s On-Track score in 2018-19 was 80.5.

Where local schools rank

Madison’s 70.2 Accountability score this year ranks them outside the top 200 public school districts that teach K4-12 statewide.


Verona Area School District also exceeded expectations, with a 75 accountability score.

The district’s Achievement score was 64.2, and the Growth score was 80.3.

Verona scored 71.4 in Target Group Outcomes and 87.1 in On-Track to Graduation.

Verona’s Achievement score was one of the top 100 in the state among public school districts teaching K4-12 students.

Middleton-Cross Plains

Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District scored a 77.2 accountability score, exceeding expectations.

The district scored 83.7 in Achievement, 67 in Growth, 60.6 in Target Group Outcomes, and 90.4 in On-Track to Graduation,

Their accountability score ranks Middleton-Cross Plains in the top 70 among public school districts teaching K4-12 statewide.

Sun Prairie

Sun Prairie Area School District scored a 68.6 accountability score, meeting expectations.

The district scored 65.4 in Achievement, 67 in Growth, 57.8 in Target Group Outcomes, and 84.3 in On-Track to Graduation.

Sun Prairie’s accountability score ranks them outside the top 200 public school districts statewide.

You can see how your child’s school district was graded here.