The State of Wisconsin and the School District of Rhinelander have embarked on education reforms to help every child graduate ready for college and a career. We are experiencing many exciting changes, including how we are evaluated by the state.
Every year we conduct student testing to obtain a snapshot of our students’ proficiency in reading and math. Our testing processes are improving, and our response to enhancing our educational methods is improving.
We recognize the expectations placed on our students are higher than ever before, and we are working diligently to insure our children are successfully able to meet these expectations. In the coming weeks, we’ll share with you the programs and processes we are rigorously putting into practice in order to prepare our students for the future. These tools demand a systematic, consistent application of instructional methods, which we have begun implementing in our schools.
As part of our measurement of success, the State of Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) will shortly issue the first School Report Card. The annual report card will look at student learning in many ways, will inform us on how our schools are doing, and will identify areas where we need improvement. This new accountability system will provide balanced, descriptive information about our schools performance using multiple measures.
The inaugural report card is just one part of the new accountability system, and reflects the considerable changes in the testing process. As we transition to multiple performance measures and a multi-tiered classification system, expectations are enhanced and our base standards are significantly higher than ever before.
Each school will earn a “score,” called an accountability index score, from 0 to 100. This score is displayed on the report card. The accountability index score that your school receives is based on the school’s performance in four priority areas: student achievement, student growth, closing gaps, and on-track/postsecondary readiness. In addition, the School Report Card displays the school’s performance on three areas of student engagement: Test Participation Rate in reading and mathematics state tests, Absenteeism Rate and Dropout rate.
A school is placed into one of five ratings based on its performance in the above areas, from Significantly Exceeds Expectations to Fails to Meet Expectations. The new statewide accountability system will include ways to spread effective practices of high-performing schools and support to help struggling schools improve.
What does the “score” on the School Report Card mean? A school’s accountability score reflects many measures that factor into a school’s performance. The accountability score will help school staff determine what areas the school does well in and the areas in which it needs improvement. The School Report Card provides detailed information about the performance of student groups at the school, including racial groups, disability, poverty, and English language learners. It’s important to note that the 0 to 100 accountability index score is not a “percent correct” measurement, so the scores are not the same as grades.
We don’t expect our scores to be as high as they were. This change will reflect the increased proficiency scores, which have been raised to meet national standards. Our students’ performance results may look lower because of the change in cut scores, but most of our students showed achievement as measured by the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination (WKCE). Our students continue to perform well, and our graduation rates continue to improve.
As Wisconsin advances education reforms to insure every child graduates ready for further education and the workplace, we remain committed to supporting our students with an aligned system of standards, instruction and assessment. We recognize that setting goals, maintaining effective instructional practices, and establishing progress monitoring systems will help prepare all children to graduate ready for future success and technological innovation.
We have more information on the School Report Card on our website at rhinelander.k12.wi.us. We look forward to providing you with more information on our programs and processes for preparing our students for their future.
For more information on the School Report Card, call Kelli Jacobi, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, at (715) 365-9700, ext 5714, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Kim Swisher is available by calling (715) 365-9700, ext. 5701, or via email at email@example.com.