This year, no Forward Exam was administered to Wisconsin students due to the coronavirus and school shutdowns. For policymakers, this presents a challenge as it makes it more difficult to understand where problems lie, and where the focus should be for improvement. However, this also presents an opportunity to make modifications to some of the deficient components of the report card that can mislead parents and policymakers on school quality.
This first section of this policy brief is designed to explain how the current report card works. The second section builds on this knowledge to highlight issues with the current report card, and suggest ways to improve it. The key takeaways of this brief include:
Report Card Scores are Based on Several Components of Student Performance. Forward Exam scores, growth, and gap closure all play important roles.
The Composition of the Report Card Score Varies Based on Student Demographics. In schools with fewer low-income students, overall performance is given more weight. In schools with more low-income students, growth is given more weight.
Wisconsin has generally lacked a rigorous approach to statewide assessments: see the oft criticized WKCE.