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Tuesday

April 2014

22

Most Mukwonago Area Schools 'exceed expectations' on new state report cards

As Mukwonago Area School District schools received their first grades from the new school report cards on Oct. 22, district officials are generally pleased with the performance of all schools: Every school but one exceeded the expectations of the rigorous new Common Core State Standards. The lone exception, Park View Middle School, meets expectations, according to the report cards.

"The standards you see there set a very high bar," Director of Student Learning Mary Koski told School Board members. "This is a very, very high bar; only 3 percent of the schools in the state significantly exceed expectations."

Thirty-percent of schools in the state exceed expectations and 43 percent meet expectations. All MASD report cards are listed on the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction website, which is linked on the MASD website.

Schools received scores calculated from a point system. Schools exceeding expectations received a score of 73-82.9 points, while schools meeting expectations received scores of 63-72.9 points. Significantly exceeding expectations scores ranged from 83-100.

The district will use the information to see where schools are strong and look for areas needing improvement to help move the scores up, according to Koski.

"These new state report cards are not an end; they are a beginning. They provide information we can use to help make our schools even better," Koski said. "They will serve as a foundation for the review of multiple new forms of data about our students' current achievement, projected growth, and readiness for careers and postsecondary learning."

Student assessment

The bottom of the school report cards shows student assessment with recalculated Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examinations (WKCE) for reading and math.

Every year students in grades three through eight and 10 take the WKCE for math and reading. While the results provide information for students, parents and teachers each year, starting with the 2012-13 school year, the achievement bar has been raised for Wisconsin students. New college and career readiness proficiency levels, based on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), provide tougher benchmarks for students, resulting in fewer students attaining a ranking of proficient or advanced on state tests, according to the DPI.

NAEP is sometimes called "the Nation's Report Card" because it is the only measure of student achievement in the United States that allows comparison of students' performances across the country.

Recalculated scores this fall show a lower percentage of MASD students achieving at a proficient or advanced level.

Where 90 percent or more scored proficient or advanced in reading and around 80 percent or higher in math in the past, according to Director of Student Learning Mary Koski, recalculated scores show reading proficiency between 60 and 38 percent and math between 77 and 64 percent.

The new state tests, the Smarter Balanced assessment system will be piloted in the spring of 2013-14. As new state student assessments roll out, the message to MASD parents will be, "your child's score on WKCE will look different," said Koski. While scores may appear lower, it is not a reflection of the abilities of students or teachers, but of the higher expectations, Koski stressed.

According to the DPI, the "difficult step is part of the state's transition to the next generation of student assessments that will help parents and teachers get a more complete picture of each student's learning more quickly." Wisconsin will continue to use the WKCE tests for two more years, switching to the Smarter Balanced assessment system in 2014-15, according to the DPI.

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