Wisconsin’s public school students tested better in math this year than last – but their reading scores are down from a year ago. That’s according to statewide achievement test data released Tuesday by the state Department of Public Instruction. Over 428,000 third-through-eighth graders and high school sophomores took the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts exams last fall. General results showed the percentages of kids proficient in math had a steady improvement over the past seven years – while reading proficiency stayed about the same since the fall of 2005. DPI said the achievement gap between black-and-white students fell by seven-and-a-half percent in math since 2005 – while black-and-white youngsters scored four-percent closer to each other in reading during that same period.
In Milwaukee, low-income kids who get tax vouchers to attend private schools showed an improvement in both math and reading from last year – but Milwaukee Public Schools students still scored better than the voucher students. This is the last year of the Knowledge-and-Concepts exam in the format that it’s had since 2005. Beginning next year, the state will raise standards and scores for proficiency – and by 2014, the state will base its assessments on the same national standards that most states now follow.