Wauwatosa School District student scores from statewide testing this spring on the Forward Exam and ACT show slight increases over last year’s results, according to recently released data from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Additionally, the results show the District significantly exceeded statewide proficiency rates. Below is a further breakdown of the results.
Elementary Forward Exam English Language Arts (Grades 3-5)
In spring 2017, 63.8% of elementary students in grades 3-5 in the Wauwatosa School District scored proficient or advanced in English Language Arts (ELA) on the Forward Exam. Compared with the prior year, this is an increase of 1.7 percentage points. Wauwatosa exceeded the statewide proficiency rate (46.5% in 2017) in ELA for both years.
Elementary Forward Exam Mathematics (Grades 3-5)
In mathematics, results held fairly steady with 64% of District students in grades 3-5 scored proficient or advanced on the Forward Exam. This is a 1.0 percentage point increase over the prior year. Wauwatosa exceeded the statewide proficiency rate (47.1% in 2017) in mathematics for both years.
Middle School Forward Exam English Language Arts (grades 6-8)
In middle school, 55% of middle school students – grades 6-8 -- in the Wauwatosa School District scored proficient or advanced in ELA. This is a 4.4 percentage point increase over the prior year. Wauwatosa also exceeded the statewide proficiency rate (44.3% in 2017) at this age group in ELA for both years.
Middle School Forward Exam Mathematics (grades 6-8)
In spring 2017, 50.6% of middle school students in the Wauwatosa School District scored proficient or advanced in mathematics on the Forward Exam. Compared with the prior year, this is an increase of 3.0 percentage points. Wauwatosa exceeded the statewide proficiency rate (40.5% in 2017) in mathematics for both years.
ACT Statewide (grade 11)
Over the past two years Wauwatosa student’s overall composite score on the ACT exam, taken by all 11th grade students, has improved from 20.3 in 2015 to 21.4 in 2017. 2015 marked the first year all junior students took the test statewide.
ACT scores in Wauwatosa are rising at a faster rate than in the state overall, with a statewide average score of 18.8 the past two years. As Mark Carter, director of secondary education explains, the District looks beyond the overall composite score when evaluating areas of improvement.
“The District disaggregates the ACT scores into smaller usable chunks of data so that we get a better picture of where our students are strong academically and where we need to focus our efforts on helping them to improve. We then create goals for the entire district that are directly aligned to improving student performance on the ACT exam. These goals become part of the district’s Strategic Objectives for 2016-2021,” explained Carter.
Each high school goes one step further and uses the disaggregated data from the ACT exam to develop School Improvement Plans in the areas of reading, math and equitable practices.
The staff at East and West High Schools analyze the data looking for trends that will guide them in making changes to the quality of instruction delivered to its student body. These changes can range from changes in curricular alignment to professional learning for teachers to academic support services for individual students or for targeted groups of students.
“The data derived from the ACT exam is one way in which we monitor the quality of the academic services we are offering all students in the Wauwatosa School District,” said Carter.