Wisconsin DPI School rating commentary

Elizabeth Beyer:

The new priority area, target group outcomes, replaced closing achievement gaps. The new priority area, DPI said, sheds additional light on students in schools with low test scores. The measure was designed to help focus support on the learners who need it most, while also improving outcomes for all students, according to DPI.

“I think in the long run this is going to be a positive for students in Wisconsin because I think it is going to guide school improvement efforts more constructively than the old measure,” Schell, who sat on the advisory committee that DPI convened to develop this year’s updated report cards, said of the change.

Scores are based on a 100-point scale and weighted for certain situations, such as a larger focus on academic growth in schools with high poverty rates. Scoring within a certain point range determines what star rating a school receives.

Madison data

For the 2020-21 school year, Madison received an overall score of 70.2 points on a 100-point scale — just over the 70 points needed to attain a four-star rating. The score was down from the 72.3 points the district received in 2018-19.

Up to three years of data are used in assessment-based measures of report cards, according to DPI. Because assessments were not administered in the 2019-20 school year, the 2020-21 report card uses results from the 2020-21, 2018-19 and 2017-18 school years with more weight given to more recent years.

This year’s star rating is as follows:

  • A score of 83 to 100 is a rating of five stars or significantly exceeds expectations.
  • A score of 70 to 82.9 is a rating of four stars or exceeds expectations.
  • A score of 58 to 69.9 is a rating of three stars or meets expectations.
  • A score of 48 to 57.9 is a rating of two stars or meets few expectations.
  • A score of 0 to 47.9 is a rating of one star or fails to meet expectations.

Spokesperson Tim LeMonds said the district received the data from DPI Tuesday and had not had an opportunity to thoroughly review the information as of Tuesday afternoon.

Of the 44 Madison schools evaluated under the report card system, six were categorized as having significantly exceeded expectations in 2020-21, receiving a five-star rating. That number was down from nine in the 2019-20 school year.

The Department of Public Instruction has changed tests a number of times over the years.

Scott Girard:

Officials urged caution in interpreting the results given the continuing pandemic. Effects included a sharp increase in the number of students who opted out of state testing, including 50.3% of eligible students on the math and English language arts (ELA) tests in MMSD.

Because no state tests were given in 2019-20, the report cards use 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2020-21.