Most Wis. schools get passing grade on report card
MADISON Highly anticipated report cards released Monday show most Wisconsin schools meet or exceed new, more stringent measurements designed to better evaluate their performance.
The state Department of Public Instruction reported that nearly 86 percent of schools met, exceeded or significantly exceeded expectations. Only 76 schools, or about 3.5 percent of all 2,118 statewide, failed to meet expectations, the lowest possible ranking.
School Districts in Walworth County were primarily in the "meets" or "exceeds expectations" categories for overall accountability. Overall, Star Center Elementary School in Lake Geneva, for example, rated a 78, Praire View Elementary School in East Troy rated a77.1, Badger High School in Lake Geneva rated a 73.9, Elkhorn Area High School rated a 76.7, and Washington Elementary School in Whitewater ranked a 73.5.
The report cards were developed in conjunction with Gov. Scott Walker, legislative leaders and others. The results had to be reported this year for the state to get its waiver under the federal No Child Left Behind law. Initially they are available only for individual schools. Reports for entire districts will be produced after this school year.
Walker called the release of the report cards "an important step toward increasing school accountability."
"While a majority of school districts are performing at or exceeding expectations, there are still too many that are failing," he said. "All Wisconsin kids deserve high-quality public education. Parents, caregivers, and communities need to know how their local schools are performing, so they can make informed decisions about their children's educations and futures."
The report cards were provided to the schools weeks ago before they were posted publically online Monday morning.
State Superintendent Tony Evers said the report cards are meant to be a starting point for evaluating schools, using a variety of measures. The report cards will change over the years, as more data is added to show how schools are performing.
For example, beginning in 2014 new tests will replace the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination. Evers is calling for a series of ACT tests to be used.
Evers said detailed information in each report card will help schools find areas where they can improve. Money will be sought to help improve schools with the poorest rankings, Evers said.
Each school was assigned a score of 0-100 based on student achievement, student growth in reading and math, graduation rates and closing of achievement gaps between different groups of students. State education officials stressed that the numerical score was meant as a measurement, not a percentage grade.
For example, a school could get a numeric score of 63 and still meet expectations. A school had to score 53 or lower to not meet expectations. The scores can be used to compare against the state average for similar schools, DPI said in a news release.
There were five possible rankings for each school. The highest, significantly exceeds expectations, had 68 schools followed by 637 in exceeds expectations, 906 that meets expectations, 190 that meets few expectations and 76 that fails to meet expectations. There were 241 new or alternative schools without enough information to be ranked.