Today the state released the mandated K-12 school report cards for 2016-2017. The report cards include two major changes from previous years: the full inclusion of private schools in the choice programs and the use of student growth as a metric for school performance.
In the second year of report cards that use legislatively mandated growth and value-added calculations, 82 percent of Wisconsin’s public and private school report cards had three or more stars, meaning the schools met or exceeded expectations for educating students. More than 95 percent of the state’s public school districts earned a three-star rating.
Will Flanders, Ph.D., Research Director at the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), stated, “The state mandated report cards are a game changer for school choice. When differences between schools are controlled for, private schools in the choice programs and public charter schools show significant student growth. Our analysis shows that students in these school choice programs have, on average, 8-24% higher student growth than traditional public schools.”
Overall, 361 public and private school report cards earned five-star ratings, 719 had four stars, 643 had three stars, 261 had two stars, and 117 schools earned one star. Another 173 schools achieved satisfactory progress and 21 need improvement through alternate accountability. There were 152 report cards for 140 private choice schools that are not rated because there was insufficient data. This is the second year that choice schools were included in report cards and the second year the schools could opt to have both a choice student and an all student report card.
On district level report cards, 44 districts earned five-star ratings, 190 had four stars, 166 earned three stars, and 20 had two stars. One district, the Herman Rubicon-Neosho School District, was not rated because of district consolidation. Another district, the Norris School District with enrollment of 14 students in 2016-17, made satisfactory progress through alternate accountability.
Accountability ratings are calculated on four priority areas: student achievement in English language arts and mathematics, school growth, closing gaps between student groups, and measures of postsecondary readiness, which includes graduation and attendance rates, third-grade English language arts achievement, and eighth-grade mathematics achievement. Additionally, schools and districts could have point deductions for missing targets for student engagement: absenteeism must be less than 13 percent and dropout rates must be less than 6 percent.