42% Score Proficient or Better on New State Assessment

testingResults from last spring’s testing of 382,836 public and private choice (voucher) students in grades three through eight on the new online Forward Exam were announced today. The results provide the latest snapshot of how Wisconsin students are performing in core content areas statewide.

  • Overall, 41.7 percent of public and private choice students scored in the proficient or advanced performance levels in English language arts. In mathematics, 41.3 percent of students were proficient or advanced. In science, 49.1 percent of students were proficient or advanced.
  • Public school students showed overall proficiency of 42.5 percent in English language arts, 42.3 percent in mathematics, and 50.1 percent in science.
  • Overall, private choice (voucher) students had a proficiency rate of 19.1 percent in English language arts, 14.0 percent in mathematics, and 21.6 percent in science.

Forward results for public school students by race and ethnicity again showed persistent achievement gaps that have been evident on other measures. Gaps are also present for English language learners, students with disabilities, and economically disadvantaged students and their peers.

The Forward Exam is made up of subject area tests in English language arts and mathematics for grades three through eight; science for grades four and eight; and social studies for grades four, eight, and 10. (Public school students with significant cogitative disabilities in grades three through eight took the Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) exams. No private choice students took the DLM.)

Because the Forward Exam is a new exam, comparisons of this year’s results with the results on last year’s Badger Exam are not advised. Indeed, assessing student achievement over time will be difficult until the Forward Exam is in place for several years.

Participation rates for the Wisconsin Forward Exam in 2015-16 improved for the second year of online statewide testing. Participation of public school students rose from 97.3 percent for the Badger Exam in 2014-15 to 98.8 percent for the Forward Exam in 2015-16.

Participation of private voucher students rose from 92.2 percent to 93.6 percent. Nearly 5 percent of the 13,427 voucher students who were enrolled in the Milwaukee, Racine, or Wisconsin parental choice programs in grades three through eight were opted out of the Forward Exam.

The Forward Exam was administered for the first time last spring, as a replacement for the Badger Exam, which had replaced the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam (WKCE) one year earlier.