Area schools make the grade on state's report card

Most get 'exceed expectations' mark

Oct. 23, 2012

Franklin, Greendale and Oak Creek-Franklin Joint school districts this week reported results of state school report cards, signaling a new era in statewide accountability measuring school effectiveness as well as student achievement and progress.

The 2011-12 measurement reported on Oct. 22 showed all three districts achieving overall ratings ranging from "meets expectations" to "exceeds expectations."

Franklin's scores ranged from 76.7 to 81.5 and Greendale's scores ranged from 75.7 to 77.3, all within "exceeds expectations." Oak Creek-Franklin scores ranged from 65.5 to 77.1, with five schools rated "meets expectations and four rated "exceeds expectations."

Detailed report cards for each school are available on each district website.

Needs explanation

Administrators said they are working with parent groups to help communicate and explain the meaning of the scores.

They note that some scoring systems within the scorecard will show numbers that will appear lower than previous traditional scoring systems.

"Because of everyone's own experience in schools, the overall score may appear as a percentage," said Mike Zellmer, director of assessment and learning at the Franklin School district. "It's an index."

That index includes four factors: student achievement, student growth, closing gaps and on-track and postsecondary readiness. The measurements are centered on the core studies of reading and math.

"It's easy to misinterpret the information because there are pretty complex calculations that go to these four areas," Zellmer said. "We are trying to help our staff and parents understand what this all means."

Zellmer said new ways of measuring effectiveness is not new to education.

Change with the times

"The educational landscape has a pot that's always on a low boil," he said. "This is just the latest change and we see it as a positive step."

Kim Amidzich, director of assessment and learning in the Greendale School District, agreed that the measurements reflect the times.

"Our economy and our work environment always changes," Amidzich said. "Schools have to change to meet the needs of the workforce and, because of that, schools need to prepare and be accountable for that."

Sara Burmeister, superintendent of the Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District, said the report cards provide "more detail than we've ever received from the state before. This detail will be very helpful to us moving forward."

Burmeister said the challenge in receiving the report cards in October means that schools have not had time to react before the current testing period that will result in new scores at the individual level.

Administrators said those test results will be another opportunity to communicate with parents who may see a different - likely lower - set of scores than in the past. That is because the scoring system will be completed by the more stringent National Assessment of Educational Progress.

DPI overview

The new accountability takes the place of the No Child Left Behind. The Department of Public Instruction released the data with the following background:

Wisconsin issued 2011-12 preliminary report cards for 2,118 public schools, including 21 independent charter schools. Sixty-eight schools received an accountability index rating of "significantly exceeds expectations." A total of 637 schools "exceed expectations," 906 schools "meet expectations," 190 schools "meet few expectations," and 76 schools "fail to meet expectations." Eleven percent of schools (241) were not rated because they are new schools or alternative schools that are too small or lack sufficient assessment data.






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