District, schools do very well on State Report Cards

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For the third time, more than half of all Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District schools rated significantly exceeded expectations on the School Report Cards, which were issued Thursday by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction after a one-year absence.

Five MCPASD schools – Elm Lawn, Northside and Sunset Ridge elementary schools along with Glacier Creek and Kromrey middle schools – were in the highest category, while Sauk Trail and West Middleton elementary schools and Middleton High School exceeded expectations, which is the second-highest category.

There were 329 schools out of more than 2,100 rated in the state that significantly exceeded expectations. Another 624 exceeded expectations.

Park Elementary School in Cross Plains met expectations and was within two points of the exceeding expectations category. The school had been in the top two categories in prior years, but received a lower score in closing achievement gaps because there was a change for how students were placed in subgroups due to differences in sample sizes. Therefore, only three years' worth of data was available for the subgroup of students. Most state schools have five years’ worth of data. The small number of data points used for Park Elementary, as well as the test variability between WKCE, Badger, and Forward Exams resulted in a lower trend for the subgroup of students and affected the overall report card rating.

Park principal Monica Schommer said she was pleased with her school’s scores in student achievement (90.0) and on-track and post-secondary readiness (92.5). The school has been identified as a high growth school for math, and received a 50.0/50.0 score for growth in math.

Clark Street Community School, a charter school for students in grades 9-12, and the 21st Century eSchool for online students were not rated because they are new, too small or lack sufficient assessment data to receive an overall accountability rating.

School Report Cards weren’t released in 2014-15. The 2015-16 report cards underwent major changes that were part of Wisconsin Act 55, the 2015-17 state budget. Those changes include variable weighting to address the impacts of poverty on student achievement, a new model for meaning student growth based on value-added methodology that was developed by UW-Madison, and the legislative requirement to change from the Badger Exam to the Forward Exam. 

There were only 16 schools out of more than 110 that received report cards in Dane County that significantly exceeded expectations.

In 2013 and ’14, MCPASD was also the only district in Dane County with more than 50 percent of its schools significantly exceeding expectations on the report cards.

“When you work hard to ensure that an inclusive, innovative and inspiring learning environment exists, and you have students engaged and committed to their own learning, the test scores will take care of themselves,’’ Superintendent George Mavroulis said. “This is a tribute to the great work of our staff, our students and our supportive families. We are all in this together.’’

It is the fourth time that DPI has issued school report cards. DPI also gave school districts an overall rating for the third time. MCPASD exceeded expectations with a score of 81.8, which is a 1.2 point increase from 2014.

Sunset Ridge (93.8) was the third-highest rated elementary school in Dane County, while Northside (92.2) was fourth. Glacier Creek (87.9) and Kromrey (87.2) were the highest rated middle schools in Dane County, while MHS (80.7) was the second-highest rated high school.

“While we continue our work to ensure that all students achieve success in the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, we are proud of our students and their achievement,’’ Assistant Superintendent Sherri Cyra said. “The report card results reflect the hard work and dedication of our staff, students, and families.’’

Six of the nine MCPASD schools improved their scores from 2014:

The DPI’s School Report Cards measure school performance. Each public school earned a “score” from 0 to 100 that is called an accountability index score. The accountability index is based on the school’s 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 racial or ethnic group with their peers)
  • On-track to graduation/postsecondary readiness, using reliable predictors of high school graduation and postsecondary success

Schools can be placed in one of five categories, from Significantly Exceeds Expectations to Fails to Meet Expectations, based on their score. The five levels of rating are:

  • Significantly Exceeds Expectations: 83-100
  • Exceeds Expectations: 73-82.9
  • Meets Expectations: 63-72.9
  • Meets Few Expectations: 53-62.9
  • Fails to Meet Expectations: 0-52.9

The 0 to 100 accountability index score is not a “percent correct” measurement, and is not similar to a score a child might earn on a test in school.

Because report cards rely on multiple years of data, the 2015-16 report cards are based on one year of Badger and Forward exams for grades 3-8 and the ACT Plus Writing as well as Dynamic Learning Maps assessments in grades 3-8 and 11th grade. The third year of data came from the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam and Wisconsin Alternate Assessment for Students with Disabilities. 

All MCPASD school report cards, along with our District report card, can be found on our website under School Report Cards. All state public school report cards can be found on the DPI website.

DPI officials cautioned against comparing the latest report card to those of previous years because of major changes in the way scores were calculated.