The results of a new statewide test shows only about 42 percent of public and private choice school students who took the exam scored well enough to be rated as at least proficient.
The Department of Public Instruction says about 383,000 students took the new Forward Exam last spring – the third such test used by the state in the last three years. In addition to math and English, about 49 percent of students were at least proficient in science.
The tests also showed a big split between public and private choice schools. Of the almost 370,000 public school students who took the exams, proficiency numbers for math and English were slightly above the 42 percent mark. Of the more than 13,000 students attending choice schools using vouchers, just 19.1 percent were proficient in English and 14 percent proficient in math.
State Superintendent Tony Evers said the numbers are consistent with other exams used in recent years and, while they are important for looking at where schools are right now, he argued they should only be considered a starting point. “They’re not something to make a judgments about the efficiency and the academic achievement of our kids.”
The test results also showed a continued achievement gap for many racial and ethnic groups, as well as for those facing language barriers, disabilities, and in low-income living situations. “I remain troubled by the achievement gaps that persist in Wisconsin,” Evers said. “As a state and within our communities, we must work together to raise awareness of this problem and implement policy-driven solutions. It is not an issue of one student or one school district, it is an issue that impacts us all.”