Wisconsin’s accountability system reports on the performance of all public schools and districts, including charter schools, and private school participating in a parental choice program.
Beginning in 2011‐12, a comprehensive accountability index replaced the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) system. The index approach uses multiple measures and classifies schools along a rating continuum. The ratings determine the level of support a school receives, ranging from rewards and recognition for high performing schools to state intervention for the lowest performing schools in the state. Accountability scores, ratings, and a 5 star rating system (as of the 2015-16 report cards) are reported annually in the School and District Report Cards.
Accountability report cards include outcomes in four priority areas:
- Student Achievement measures the level of knowledge and skills among students in the school, compared to state and national standards. It includes a composite of reading and mathematics performance by the “all students” group in the Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS) for all tested grades in the school.
- Student Growth describes how much student knowledge of reading and mathematics in the school changes from year to year. It uses a point system that gives positive credit for students progressing toward higher performance levels, and negative credit for students declining below proficiency. This area focuses not on attainment, but the pace of improvement in student performance, no matter where students begin. All improvement is treated as a positive. Schools with high performance and little room to grow are not penalized.
- Closing Gaps shows how the performance of student groups experiencing statewide gaps in achievement and graduation is improving in the school. It recognizes the importance of having all students improve, while focusing on the need to close gaps by lifting lower-performing groups. Specific race/ethnicity groups, students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged students, and English language learners are compared against their complementary groups.
- On-Track to Graduation and Postsecondary Readiness indicates the success of students in the school in achieving educational milestones that predict postsecondary success. It includes the graduation rate for schools that graduate students, or the attendance rate for other schools. It also includes measures of third-grade reading and eighth-grade mathematics achievement, and ACT participation and performance, as applicable to the school.
Accountability scores are provided for each priority area. Student Engagement Indicators are measures outside the four priority areas that affect student success and the soundness of the index. Each indicator has a goal, and schools/districts that fail to meet that goal receive a point deduction from their overall score. Schools/districts can meet the goals with a one-year or three-year rate. Goals were set by looking at statewide data and establishing thresholds that identify schools contributing the most to lowering Wisconsin’s overall performance in the areas below.
- Test Participation (minimum 95%) - The lowest group rate of all students and subgroups is used for this indicator.
- Absenteeism (below 13%) - Related to attendance, the school’s absenteeism rate is the percentage of students whose individual attendance rate is 84% and below.
- Dropout Rates (below 6%)
Schools not meeting the threshold for any Student Engagement Indicator will have points deducted from their index score. For Test Participation, if the rate is less than 95 percent, but at least 85 percent, five points are deducted from the school’s overall score; for rates less than 85 percent, 10 points are deducted. If the absenteeism rate in the school is 13 percent or more, 5 points are deducted from its score. The goal for every middle and high school is to have a dropout rate of less than 6 percent. If the school does not meet that goal, 5 points are deducted from its score. The resulting overall accountability score will determine the Accountability Rating a school receives:
|Significantly Exceeds Expectations||83||100|
|Meets Few Expectations||53||62.9|
|Fails to Meet Expectations||0||52.9|
Additional measures—such as science proficiency or postsecondary enrollment—may be included in Wisconsin’s accountability system in the future.
The State requires interventions in Title I schools that demonstrate the lowest performance in the state (Priority Schools) and in schools with the largest subgroup achievement gaps in reading, mathematics, or graduation rate, or in which certain subgroups are the lowest performing in the state (Focus Schools).