The latest test data show a persistent achievement gap between white students and minority students in Wisconsin schools. “There’s no question,” said Tony Evers, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. “What that tells us is that we continue to struggle in this area.”
Scores on the statewide Badger Exam, released Wednesday by DPI, show about 44 percent of students in grades three through eight are proficient or advanced in math, and about 51 percent proficient or advanced in English language arts. As with previous tests, the Badger Exam results show racial divides between white students and students of color, with the widest gap between white and black students. In English language arts, 58-point-five percent of white students scored proficient or advanced compared with only 21 percent of black students. In math, about 51 percent of white students scored proficient or advanced, compared to 12 percent of black students.
“We will be using the information from both the ACT and the Badger Exam to take a look at what schools are doing a good job with typically underachieving kids,” said Evers. He added that DPI is partnering with UW Madison to research whats works in schools that are doing a good job addressing the achievement gap.
DPI also released test results for the ACT on Wednesday. The composite score for juniors who took the ACT was 20 on a scale of 36. That’s below the 22.2 reported in August 2015, something Evers said was not unexpected because more students are now taking the test. “This is the first year that it’s been required of all 11th graders.”