2015-2016 School Accountability Reporting
Recently, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) released both District Report Cards and School Report Cards for the 2015-2016 school year. District and individual building results for the Palmyra-Eagle Area School District may be located at The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction website at: https://apps2.dpi.wi.gov/reportcards/ You will also find a great deal of additional information regarding the statewide Accountability System at www.dpi.wi.gov Click on School Report Cards under the Quick Links tab.
What changes occurred for the 2015-2016 School Year?
There were three areas of change to this year’s report card calculations. These changes were legislatively required and cannot be changed without further legislation.
- Variable weighting. This is a weighting scheme meant to address the impact of poverty on student achievement. A sliding scale is applied when the school/district has both Student Achievement and Student Growth scores. The higher the percentage of economically disadvantaged students enrolled, the higher the weight that is placed on the Student Growth score. High-poverty schools or districts in which growth scores are higher than achievement scores generally see an increase in their overall score. Conversely, high-poverty schools and districts in which growth scores are lower than achievement scores generally see a lower overall score. Schools and districts have fallen into both categories as a result of this change.
- Value-Added. The methodology for calculating Student Growth was changed from Student Growth Percentiles (SGP) to a Value-Added methodology. Value-added (like SGPs) statistically controls for prior test performance but also controls for student demographics like poverty, race, and ELL or SWD status. The model calculates projected growth for a school or district with all those controls in place and compares that projection to the actual growth. The difference is the value-added, and the accountability system translates this into a score.
- State Assessment. The legislature has required additional assessment transitions in recent years which means that this round of report cards is based on different state assessments given over three years: 2015-16 Forward, ACT Plus Writing, and DLM Exams; 2014-15 Badger, ACT Plus Writing, and DLM Exams; and the 2013-14 WKCE and WAA-SwD in grades 3-8. While the metrics that calculate scores in the report cards are designed to work across different assessments, it is still true that changing the state test three times in three years is a disruption to the continuity of the system
District and School “Report Cards”
In the State of Wisconsin every district and each school in the district are identified in one of five areas for an overall accountability rating. Districts and schools target is to minimally demonstrate measurements that place them in the “Meets Expectations”, “Exceeds Expectations”, or “Significantly Exceeds Expectations” categories. The overall accountability rating is based on scores in up to 4 priority areas combined with the ability to meet three student engagement indicators. The priority areas for districts or schools can be compared to the state average in each area.
This year each proficiency category is also designated in the upper left hand corner with a multiple-starred rating as well. The more stars noted the better the level of proficiency achieved. As with previous state report cards the following scores are designated for each proficiency category:
- Significantly Exceeds Expectations 83 – 100 5 stars
- Exceeds Expectations 73 – 82.9 4 stars
- Meets Expectations 63 – 72.0 3 stars
- Meets Few Expectations 53 – 62.9 2 stars
- Fails to Meet Expectations 0 – 52.9 1 star
Determination of Accountability Rating
The first priority area is Student Achievement in the areas of English Language Arts and Mathematics according to Wisconsin Forward test results. Districts/schools receive .5 points for every student who scores in the basic range, 1.0 points for every student scoring in the proficient range and 1.5 points for every student scoring in the advanced range. A three year average is used to calculate the final scores.
The second priority area reports Student Growth in English Language Arts and Mathematics. This score is used to measure whether students are on target to move to higher levels of proficiency each year they are tested. This score is not calculated for high schools as students are not tested consecutive years.
The third priority area is Closing Gaps. The goal is for all groups of students to be achieving and, eventually, graduating from high school. This area looks at the performance of racial/ethnic groups, students with disabilities, students from low income and students who are English Language Learners and compares their score to statewide comparison groups. Points are earned for closing gaps between the scores of the two groups. The score is based upon closing gaps for achievement, based on test scores in English Language Arts and Mathematics, and high school graduation rates.
Priority area four is On-Track and Postsecondary Readiness. When applicable, points are assigned in this area for graduation rate, attendance rate, third grade reading achievement, eighth grade math achievement and ACT participation and performance. The goal of this area is to measure post-secondary readiness. Third grade reading is important to measure literacy readiness and eighth grade math for algebra readiness, both essential for post-secondary success.
The Student Engagement Indicators are for test participation, based upon the lowest group rate, absenteeism rate, and dropout rate. Points are deducted from the overall score if a school or district does not meet the goal in any of those three areas.
Preliminary Review and Summary:
A few points of interest about the results for the PEASD in 2015-2016 are as follows:
- The School District is identified as “Exceeds Expectations” with an overall district score of 73.4.
- Eagle Elementary School is identified as “Exceeds Expectations” with an overall score of 82.1.
- Palmyra Elementary School is identified as “Exceeds Expectations” with an overall score of 80.4.
- Palmyra-Eagle Middle School is identified as “Meets Expectations” with an overall score of 69.8.
- Palmyra-Eagle High School is identified as “Meets Expectations” with an overall score of 68.8.
Why do district and school scores differ?
Scores from the School Report Cards are aggregated, not averaged, to arrive at the district score. The district is treated as one big school, in which all students in the district are pooled for District Report Card calculations. This means there are often subgroup scores at the district level but not enough at the school level to show up on the School Report Card. In such cases, it is not uncommon for the district to have a lower overall score than the schools within the district. It may also be the case that the weighting scale applied in combining the student achievement and student growth priority area scores into the overall score differs at the district level than for some individual schools in the district.
The administrative team, district curriculum and instruction staff, and staff members in each building, will be looking at these results in order to set goals for their respective schools. These results will also be shared with teaching staff. Overall there are many positives and with continued focus on student learning and new curricular initiatives the District should continue to see positive results and enhancements in student learning. If the Board would like further discussion or more details, a presentation could be made at a future Board meeting.
The 2015 – 2016 district and school report cards and associated accountability measures mark the first time that poverty has been factored into the scoring of student test results. As socio-economic status is the main contributor to student learning (or lack thereof) this serves to level the playing field and acknowledges what educators have long fought for in discussions about student accountability measurement. For the PEASD this means that our students and their growth are more accurately portrayed from one year to the next.
As this is the first year of accountability measures based upon the Wisconsin Forward Exam, the 2015 – 2016 school year and associated test results form the baseline measurement for documenting student growth and achievement in the Palmyra-Eagle Area School District into the future. While other factors may be utilized in the calculation of distinct and discrete student learning in the future there have been assurances made the Forward exam will remain in place for a period of not less than ten (10) years. This consistency will lend itself to better and more accurate accounting for student academic achievement – at least as is measured by standardized assessments.
Should you have any questions about the accountability reports and the results for the 2015-2016 school year please contact your building principal or myself at your convenience.
Dr. Steven M. Bloom