DPI releases School Report Card
By Angie Landsverk
The Weyauwega-Fremont School District is celebrating achievements in some of its schools while seeing other areas to focus on following the release of its 2016-17 report card.
“There is work needing to be done,” said District Administrator Scott Bleck.
His comment was in regard to the high school’s report card, which dropped from 63.7 for the 2015-16 school year to 60.7 this past school year.
The drop means the high school moved from the Meets Expectations category to the Meets Few Expectations category.
“Why is the first thing to come forward,” Bleck said Monday, Nov. 27 during the school board’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
The report cards for the district and schools were on the agenda that night.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released the report cards to the public on Nov. 21.
The report cards are based on four priority areas: student achievement, school growth, closing gaps and on-track and postsecondary readiness.
The school district received a district report card score of 74 for the 2016-17 school year, which fell in the Exceeds Expectations category.
That score compares to 76.2 for the 2015-16 school year, which was in the same category.
Fremont Elementary’s 2016-17 school report card score of 91.6 placed it in the Significantly Exceeds Expectations category.
Its score was 88.2 in 2015-16, which was the same category.
“Fremont Elementary continues to significantly exceed expectations. That’s a tremendous accomplishment for that school,” Bleck said.
Weyauwega Elementary’s 2016-17 school report card of 64.4 placed it in the Meets Expectations category.
The previous school year, its score was 75.5, which was in the Exceeds Expectations category.
Its 2016-17 report card received a notation because of the 10-point or more change from the previous school year.
The DPI considers larger than expected year-to-year fluctuations outliers.
It cautions those reviewing such scores, saying it is not clear whether these fluctuations are due to actual changes in school performance or are symptoms of statistical volatility.
W-F Middle School’s report card score of 78.8 for the 2016-17 school year compared to 74.5 for the the 2015-16 school year.
Both scores fell in the Exceeds Expectations category.
Significantly Exceeds Expectations scores are from 83 to 100, while Exceeds Expectations scores are from 73 to 82.9.
Meets Expectations scores are from 63 to 72.9, and Meets Few Expectations scores are from 53 to 62.9.
Fails to Meet Expectations scores are from 0 to 52.9.
“As a district, again we Exceed Expectations,” Bleck said. “We have areas to focus on and make improvements on, but as a district, we Exceed Expectations. We should be complimenting the stakeholders who create those opportunities for the students.”
He said the scoring rubic for the report card is becoming more rigorous.
For example, growth is also based on the percentage of students who receive free or reduced lunch, he said.
“As free and reduced goes down, growth is expected to increase,” Bleck said.
During the 2015-16 school year, 33.6 percent of the high school’s students were economically disadvantaged.
That percentage was 24.6 percent last school year.
“Our families are working hard,” Bleck said, noting the percentage of students at the school receiving free or reduced lunch decreased.
Expectations are increasing each year, said Kandi Martin, the district’s pupil services/curriculum director.
At the high school level, one of the largest drivers is standardized testing, Bleck said.
The ACT Plus Writing is the testing score being used at that level, Martin said.
The 2014-15 school year became the first one in which all high school juniors in Wisconsin were required to take the ACT Plus Writing, regardless of whether they plan to go to college after high school.
Last school year, the juniors took the test in late February.
At W-F High School, there are 57 students in the senior class.
Martin said the ACT composite score for those 57 students who tested in 2016-17 was 20.7.
That compares to the state composite of 20.5, she said.
The test is scored on a scale of one to 36.
Small, rural communities in which there are less students will see a greater fluctuation in the composite score, Bleck said.
The high schools in the Iola-Scandinavia, Bonduel and Shiocton also received report card scores in the Meets Few Expectations category for the 2016-17 school year.
“It does highlight where we’re at,” Bleck said.
He said the ACT prep test has been a continued focus since he has been in the district.
All students do not rely on that test as an indicator of what they will do in the future, Bleck said.
“But it is the standard being used,” he said.
Doug Ehrenberg, the board’s president, said it would be nice if just the college-bound juniors took the ACT and the state created a separate test for those going to technical college or straight into the workforce after high school.
Board member Kurt Duxbury said 57 students is “a pretty small sample.”
Sandy Smith is also a member of the board and is a retired teacher and principal.
“I don’t think you can judge year by year,” she said.
Smith believes a better indicator would be to look at five year’s worth of data.