Most Wisconsin schools meet or exceed expectations in newly-released report cards

Most Wisconsin schools meet or exceed expectations in newly-released report cards
FreeImages.com/Rob Gonyea

A majority of the schools in Wisconsin meet or exceed expectations for educating students, but some schools are seeing big changes in their scores this year.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released the school and district report cards Tuesday morning.

It shows 82 percent of public and private school report cards had three or more stars, meaning they meet expectations.

One hundred and sixty one schools and 24 districts had fluctuations of 10 or more points compared to the 2015-2016 report cards. This is larger than expected.

The results show bigger changes in score in rural areas, while urban areas stayed mostly stable, with the exception of Racine.

Wisconsin Act 55 mandated the use of value-added growth scoring and variable weighting based on the percentage of economically disadvantages students in each school or district. This is the second year the report cards include these scoring changes.

Tom McCarthy with the Department of Public Instruction said they didn’t see the large fluctuations until they implemented those changes.

“If you were a well off district we just looked at how well your students performed in that particular year, if you are a district that struggles more with student poverty, we tried to look at whether or not your students were growing more,” said McCarthy.

The Department of Public Instruction said score fluctuations will likely continue, especially for small schools and districts and those with high percentages of economically disadvantages students.

But McCarthy said this is just one way to look at schools.

“There are a ton of things that happen inside of a school or a district that we just can’t measure and it’s important that everybody in the community understands that those things have value too,” said McCarthy.

The department also pointed out that this year there was a higher rate of families who chose to opt out of the state assessment. This affected the report cards by showing less participation.

The schools in the Madison Metropolitan area stayed pretty stable.

Leopold Elementary, East High, Sennett Middle, Cherokee Heights Middle and LeFollette High School are listed as meeting few expectations. All other schools in the Madison Metropolitan district meet or exceed expectations or have a satisfactory alternate rating.

The Waunakee community school district significantly exceeded expectations, while Adams-Friendship, Montello, Necedah, and New Lisbon met few expectations.

For detailed information by district, click here .

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