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About the Data

Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS) data are based on annual standardized tests of reading and mathematics in grades 3-8 and 10, and language arts, science, social studies and writing in grades 4, 8 and 10. Tests are administered in late October and November. Most students participate in the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination (WKCE), but some (approx. 1.5%) students with significant cognitive disabilities participate in the Wisconsin Alternate Assessment for Students with Disabilities (WAA-SwD). Data are available in WISEdash beginning with the 2005-06 school year. The five most recent years can be used to analyze trends in student achievement. The two main types of results presented are WSAS proficiency data and WKCE scale score data.

Beginning with the 2012-13 school year, Wisconsin established performance standards (cut scores) comparable to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) cut scores for the WKCE reading and mathematics content areas in order to better align to the high expectations of the Common Core State Standards. These WKCE performance levels were revised to more closely align with national and international expectations of what is required to be college and career ready.  These new cut scores are now available in WISEdash and have been applied historically for all years of data for the Reading and Mathematics subject areas.  Please note that the new performance standards (cut scores) have NOT been retroactively applied to the Standards Performance Index (SPI) sub-scores. Performance levels for the SPI prior to 2012-13 are based on the prior cut-scores. SPI performance levels for 2012-13 and after are based on new cut scores and reflect the high expectations of the Common Core State Standards.


Proficiency Results: Proficiency data include WKCE and WAA-SwD combined results, and are presented in 4 performance categories plus Not Tested on WSAS. The four WKCE and WAA-SwD performance categories were established by Wisconsin educators and stake-holders at standard settings held in February 2003 and April 2008 respectively. The standard setting panel divided student scores into the categories Minimal Performance, Basic, Proficient and Advanced based upon what students in each category showed that they knew and were able to do on the exams.

Scale Score Results: Scale Scores are a transformation of student test answer choices accounting for item difficulty and student guessing. They are a more accurate measure of student performance than number correct. Scale scores do not have the same meaning across subjects, but unlike the number correct scores, they may be used to compare scores for the same subject over time. The scale score data included in WISEdash are for WKCE only. The WAA-SwD examination is scored using a number-correct scoring method and does not produce scale scores.

Demographic Data: WSAS demographic data in WISEdash are derived from multiple data sources and are consistent with demographic data across WISEdash dashboards. Note that certain values may differ from demographics originally reported with the WSAS annual results. Data that are specific to WSAS assessments are:

Full Academic Year – School/District: The federal education law (NCLB) requires that data be publicly reported and accountability determinations be made based on students enrolled for a full academic year. To help schools and districts understand what will be publicly reported, a full academic year filter is included for WSAS data.

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