Closer Look: Area reaction to reading, math scores

Wisconsin public school students are doing a little better on standardized tests. The test scores are from last fall. In reading, a little more than a third of the state’s students had scores considered proficient or advanced. In math, just under half were proficient or advanced.

In Northeast Wisconsin’s largest school districts, WKCE scores are mostly going down.

We looked at scores over the last five years. For math, scores for the state were up two percent. Appleton saw a half-percent increase. However, Oshkosh dropped about two percent, and Green Bay went down nearly 11 percent.

Green Bay also is below the state average when it comes to students who scored proficient or advanced on the test.

The assistant superintendent of the Green Bay Area Public School District emphasized the scores are from tests taken several months ago, so the results don’t show changes the district has already made during this school year.

“It’s still a little early in the process of looking at and analyzing the data. But in that process, what we’ll do is, we will look at our alignment of the curriculum, we’ll look at best practices around math instruction,” said Mark Smith, assistant superintendent of the Green Bay Area Public School District.

Looking at reading scores, Green Bay, Appleton and Oshkosh all dropped around three percent over the last five years.

Overall, scores in the state were up one percent.

St. Norbert College education professor Steve Correia says the test scores released Tuesday do not paint the entire picture.

“You also have to include so many demographic and cultural issues. It’s population moving in, it’s native English speakers, it’s English as a second language, English Language Learners, it’s different communities,” said Correia.

But Correia says increasing student performance is not easy, and schools need to focus on groups that are under performing.

The results released Tuesday are the last under the WKCE. Starting next spring, students will be taking new online exams each year. Those tests are aligned with new educational standards known as the Common Core

Meanwhile, voucher students did not score as well as public school students on the tests.

In reading, about 33 percent of students in the statewide voucher program were proficient or advanced. That compares to nearly 37 percent of public school students.

In math, about a third of voucher students had the highest two rankings, compared to nearly half of all public students.

The voucher program expanded statewide this school year after previously being allowed only in Milwaukee and Racine.

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