BARRON, Wis. (WEAU) -- For the first time, parents and students are seeing how their districts rank based on a "score" from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI). The information within the school report card is based on data from the previous school year.
Nearly all of the districts in western Wisconsin either met expectations or exceeded expectations. According to the DPI, the report cards will help parents understand how their child’s school is doing and help schools identify where they can improve to help all children succeed in their education.
Each district and school earned an accountability score, called an overall accountability index score, from 0 to 100. The scores are based on performance in four priority areas:
• Student Achievement in reading and mathematics on state assessments
• Student Growth measured by year-to-year improvements in achievement • Closing Gaps in performance between specific student groups (comparing English language learners, low-income students, students with disabilities, and members of a racial or an ethnic group with their peers)
• On-track and Postsecondary Readiness including graduation or attendance rates, reading and math achievement, and ACT participation and performance
In addition, the report cards display the district or school’s performance on three areas of student engagement:
• Test Participation in reading and mathematics state assessments
• Absenteeism Rate measuring chronic absenteeism
• Dropout Rate measuring the rate of students leaving school without graduating
A district or school is placed into one of five rating categories, based on its performance in the above areas, from Fails to Meet Expectations to Significantly Exceeds Expectations. The DPI says the statewide accountability system includes sharing effective practices of high-performing schools and support to help struggling schools improve.
For instance, when a district "Meets Few Expectations,” the report card can help school districts, like the Barron Area School District , reassess and make improvements to help their students succeed.
New superintendent Craig Broeren said the report card helps the school district get a better picture of how their students are doing at each school.
“Some of them are not reported because the class sizes are too small but all of them either meet or exceed the expectations with the exception of the high school which also was listed like the district, meets few expectations,” said Broeren.
The district overall got 61 in accountability rating, so it met few expectations. Barron High School individually, ranked 60.
“I’m noticing that reading achievement is a potential issue district wide. One of the things we've already discussed is the fact that it’s not just the reading teacher's problem. So when we're talking about reading K-12, we're talking about how we make our kids better readers in whatever content area we teach,” said Broeren.
He said another reason behind the ranking was confusion on whether the state assessment tests are mandatory.
“There may have been some conversation amongst some of those community members indicating that their children didn't have to participate in the state level testing if they just excused them from school,” said Broeren.
He said the report cards give all schools an opportunity to see what areas they can grow.
“We have already laid out a plan that the administrative team will roll out with staff regarding specifically focusing on reading achievement for this year,” he said.
If you want to see how your school district and each individual school ranked, see link below. (If you download the report cards, it opens in Excel spreadsheet and there are tabs either at the bottom or top where you can click on "2012-13_school_reportcard_data")