District earns 72.2 DPI rating
By Jane Myhra
The Iola-Scandinavia School District earned three stars on state report cards from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, issued for the 2015-16 school year.
The three-star rating indicates the I-S School District meets expectations for educating students.
The report card scores included 72.2 for the school district, 72.6 for the middle/high school and 72.8 for the elementary.
All of the indicators were strong, according to District Administrator David Dyb.
“Our students are testing at a high proficiency,” he said. “We just missed the cutoff for ‘exceeds expectations,’ which is 73. We were just tenths of a point from getting the four-star rating.”
Dyb believes one of the most important indicators is post-secondary readiness, for which the I-S students scored 93.5 percent.
“We were way above the state average (85 percent) for readiness for graduation and post-secondary success,” Dyb said. “Ultimately that is one of our major goals – to prepare our students for the next chapter of their lives.”
According to Dyb, a large percent of I-S students go on to post-secondary education at universities and technical colleges.
“I feel the academic rigor at our high school is very solid,” he said.
While school and district report cards provide information to the community, Dyb noted they do not represent a full picture of a school’s progress.
“This report is just one small indicator of a school district’s success,” he said. “It doesn’t paint the whole picture.”
Report cards are issued based on four priority areas: Student achievement in English language arts and mathematics, student growth, closing gaps between student populations and measures of readiness for graduation and postsecondary success.
The 2015-16 report cards underwent major changes as part of Wisconsin Act 55, in the 2015-17 state budget. Those changes include variable weighting to address the impacts of poverty on student achievement, a new model for measuring student growth based on value-added methodology developed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the legislative requirement to change from the Badger Exam offered through the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium to the Forward Exam.
Report cards rely on multiple years of data; the 2015-16 report cards are based on one year of Badger and one year of Forward exams for grades three through eight and the ACT Plus Writing for grade 11, as well as Dynamic Learning Maps assessments in grades three through eight and grade 11. The third year of data came from the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam and Wisconsin Alternate Assessment for Students with Disabilities.
Making comparisons of school and district performance to prior report card ratings is inaccurate and inadvisable as statewide student assessments have changed and the formulas used for calculating report card results have changed.
“It is hard to compare data over time with different indicators,” Dyb said. “With the state test changing, it limits how far you can drill down into the data over time.”