An overwhelming majority of Wisconsin schools, both public and private, met or exceeded the state’s expectations for student achievement, growth, and progress, according to the Department of Public Instruction School Report Cards released last week.

Less than one-fifth failed to meet or barely met expectations; and as noted by a story in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, most of those schools had an “extraordinarily high percentage” of children in poverty.

The news marks the first year that private schools in one of the state’s three Parental Choice Programs received a rating. The Report Cards, however, do not offer a complete picture of a school’s instructional quality. The assessment applies only to those students within a school who are of testing age – at least in Grade 3 – and who were tested at the school during the past two years. The Report Card does not take into consideration the school’s performance with students in lower grades.

To complicate matters, parents can opt out of testing, which some participating Choice schools encourage, so there has been insufficient data to measure achievement in those schools. Many made the move to avoid receiving a school rating based on a very small fragment of their total school population. In contrast, some schools opted to also receive a whole school Report Card to give a more accurate picture of their students’ performance.

WCRIS will continue to offer professional development workshops that assist our member schools in committing to a higher standard.

Find the School Report Cards on the DPI website at: