Comments On The Madison School District’s Third “Annual Report”

Doug Erickson:

The annual report is a selective rather than exhaustive view of the district, with only some grades and some demographic groups highlighted in detail.

The report cited proficiency rates in reading at grade 3 and reading and math in grades 5 and 8, as measured by the Measures of Academic Progress exam, which tests students throughout the school year. Overall, fewer than half of students in any of those grades and subjects were considered proficient, though progress is being made.

Third-graders showed a five percentage point increase in reading proficiency over three years, to 41 percent. Fifth-grade reading proficiency is up 10 percentage points over the same time period, to 44 percent.

“We are taking our challenges head on, and we are seeing strong progress,” School Board Vice President Mary Burke said at the press conference, which was attended by dozens of community leaders, students, staff members and parents.

Middle school math proficiency, calculated by bringing together scores in grades 6-8, is up four percentage points over three years, to 45 percent. The math scores illustrate how racial achievement gaps can widen even when everyone is improving.

During the 2012-13 school year, 19 percent of Hispanic middle school students scored proficient in math compared to 61 percent of white middle school students, a gap of 42 percentage points. Last year, proficiency among Hispanic students improved to 24 percent, yet the proficiency of white students improved to 68 percent, widening the gap to 44 percentage points.

I am glad that the district is discussing reading results.