More than 93 percent of students in the Greendale School District exhibit proficient or advanced reading and math skills, based on recently released results of the November 2008 Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination.
Students in grades three through eight and grade 10 were tested in the two subjects, and their performance was ranked as advanced, proficient, basic or minimal. Students in fourth, eighth and 10th grades also are tested in science, social studies and language arts.
According to WKCE and Wisconsin Alternative Assessment for Students with Disabilities scores released April 28, 93.6 percent of students were proficient or advanced in reading, and 93.5 percent scored at that level in math.
Those scores indicate Greendale is the top-performing school district in Milwaukee County for math. Only the Whitefish Bay School District outranked Greendale in reading, with an overall proficient and advanced score of 94.1 percent.
Holding their own
Compared with November 2007 WKCE reading scores, this year's Greendale students in grades three, six, eight and 10 outperformed those in the same grade last year. Those at the 10th-grade level had the most significant increase in the percentage of students who are proficient or advanced. At that level, the number of advanced and proficient students increased by 6.4 percentage points.
Kim Amidzich, director of assessment and learning, said the gains are a direct result of an enhanced focus on reading, specifically analyzing text, in the English curriculum for grades six through 10.
Beyond the scores, the Greendale School District also is observing an increase in the number of students classified as economically disadvantaged, Amidzich noted.
Of 1,254 district students, including students who have been in the district less than a full academic year, tested in November 2008, about 15.5 percent are considered economically disadvantaged - up from 14.2 percent of those tested in 2007.
When comparing Greendale to other top-performing districts in the area, differences in demographics are important to consider, Superintendent William Hughes said. For example, about 5 to 6 percent of students tested this year in Whitefish Bay, a high-performing district, are considered economically disadvantaged, according to Tony Frontier, curriculum/instruction director for the Whitefish Bay School District.
Another predictor of proficient and advanced scores is race. The percentage of minorities tested in the two districts is fairly comparable. In the Whitefish Bay district about 17.8 percent of the students tested were classified as minorities, and in the Greendale School District about 13.5 percent were.
Overall, "we outperform what our demographics would predict for student achievement," Hughes said.
Likewise, Greendale's performance gap between those tested in reading and math who are economically disadvantaged and those who are not is about 10 percent - half the statewide gap, Amidzich said.
Julie Becker can be reached at (262) 446-6606.
See a chart comparing Milwaukee County districts' WKCE results.