Students fare well on Badger Exam, ACT

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District students in grades 3-8 were well above the state average for public school students on the Badger Exam, according to results released by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction on Wednesday, Jan. 13.

More than 72 percent of District students were proficient or advanced in English/language arts compared with the state average of 51.2 percent. More than 72.5 percent of District students were proficient or advanced in mathematics compared with the state average of 43.7 percent. The results are from the statewide exams offered in 2014-15.

District third-graders (78.3) had the highest score in English/language arts among the 16 school districts in Dane County. In mathematics, third-graders (77.7), seventh-graders (76.5) and eighth-graders (63.0) all had the highest scores in the county for their respective grades.

Meanwhile, District 11th-graders in 2014-15 had a composite score of 23.4 on the ACT college admissions exam compared with the state average of 20.0. The exam was administered in March 2015 to all public school 11th-graders in the state for the first time. More than 65,000 juniors in the state took the ACT or the DLM.

The ACT is scored on a scale of one to 36 and consists of five subject areas: English, reading, writing, mathematics and science.

Nearly 69 percent of District students scored proficient or advanced on the English-reading-writing portion of the ACT compared with the state average of 45.7. Sixty-two percent of District students scored proficient or advanced on the math protion of the ACT compared with the state average of 35.9. A score of 20-27 was considered proficient, while 28 and above was considered advanced.

The District's ACT composite score was second among the 14 Dane County districts who submitted their score to the Wisconsin State Journal. Only Waunakee (23.9) was higher.

The Badger Exam was an online assessment administered last spring statewide to more than 360,000 students. Nearly 5,000 students took the Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) exam, whih measures academic progress of students with significant cognitive disabilities.

The Badger Exam and DLM replaced the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination (WKCE) and the Wisconsin Alternate Assessment for Students with Disabilities for students in grades 3-8.

The Badger Exam will be replaced in 2016 with the Forward Exam, which will be administered in the spring. The Badger Exam was developed through the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, however, legislation adopted as part of the 2015-17 state budget prohibits DPI from using exams developed by the consortium.

The state has a six-ear contract with Data Recogntion Corporation, the company which will produce the Forward Exam.

The tests are part of the Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS), which State Superintendent Tony Evers said is more rigorous than prior testing.

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