For the first time in two years, the state has released K-12 school and district report cards, providing the latest “snapshot” of school and school district performance and marking the debut of a new “5-star” scoring system.
The report cards, based on student test scores on the state assessments administered during the 2015-16 school year, were released Thursday by the state Department of Public Instruction (DPI).
Ninety-one percent of public school districts and over 82 percent of public schools in Wisconsin met or exceeded expectations on 2015-16 report cards.
These districts earned three or more stars on the report cards issued under a new scoring rubric that was revamped as part of the 2015-2017 state budget. The changes included new weighing for students’ demographic information, including race, disability and economic status.
Partly because of these changes, the DPI cautioned in a news release that “2015-16 report cards are not comparable to report cards issued in prior years and do not represent a full picture of the important work taking place in schools throughout the state.”
Further complicating comparisons is the fact that this year’s report cards in grades 3-8 used results from the state’s third different set of standardized tests or assessments in three years, causing the DPI to warn that, “using data from three different assessments in calculations, along with other changes, makes comparisons of school and district performance to prior report card ratings inaccurate and inadvisable.”
Across the state, 329 schools and 59 districts earned a significantly exceeds expectations score (five stars). In total, 624 schools and 187 districts fell into the exceeds expectations category, 635 schools and 144 districts achieved meets expectations, and 243 schools and 33 districts received meets few expectations.
Ninety-nine schools and five districts earned one star, meaning they failed to meet expectations. Schools that fall into the lowest category for two consecutive years will face state sanctions.
Scores are determined by measurements in four areas: student achievement in English language arts and mathematics, student growth, closing gaps between student groups, and measures of readiness for graduation and postsecondary success.
Points are deducted for opt-outs of state testing, absenteeism and dropout rates.