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The State Superintendent Adopts New Academic Standards

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor recently adopted new academic standards in several content areas. The new Wisconsin Standards for English Language Arts, Wisconsin Standards for Physical Education, and Wisconsin Standards for Personal Financial Literacy are published on the Department of Public Instruction Academic Standards web page.

Each set of standards went through the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s comprehensive process for reviewing and revising academic standards, beginning with a notice of intent to review and a public commenting period. The standards work culminated over the course of many months with feedback from the public, stakeholders, educators, and the Legislature, with further review by the State Superintendent’s Standards Review Council.

Wisconsin Standards for English Language Arts

Co-Chairs of the writing committee for the English language arts standards:

  • Abbie Fishman, Milwaukee Public Schools

  • Amy McGovern, Wausau School District

  • Colleen Pennell, Carroll University

  • David Roloff, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

  • Lisa Duxbury, Oshkosh Area School District

  • Norm Andrews, Elmbrook School District

Priorities for revision of the English language arts standards were determined through extensive public comments including maintaining standards that were similar to other states, having fewer standards, and creating standards that advance equity. The Wisconsin Standards for English Language Arts build on the strengths of the 2010 standards. Created by a racially and geographically diverse team of more than 50 Wisconsin educators, the revised standards for English language arts emphasize the following:

  • Wisconsin’s youngest students will learn reading foundational skills – including developing an understanding of phonics through explicit, systematic instruction – in order to comprehend and create text.

  • Wisconsin students will be flexible writers, composing a variety of formal, creative, and reflective writing.

  • Wisconsin students will understand how language functions in different contexts and cultures, strategically using English based on audience, task, and purpose.

Wisconsin Standards for Personal Financial Literacy

Co-Chairs of the writing committee for the personal financial literacy standards:

  • Joel Chrisler, Sauk Prairie School District

  • Dave Mancl, Department of Financial Institutions

  • Beth Ratway, American Institutes for Research

The Wisconsin Standards for Personal Financial Literacy provide a foundation to identify what students should know, evaluate, and communicate about money information and financial services. Learning includes how students can select and respond to life event planning and its effect on personal finances.

The Wisconsin Standards for Personal Financial Literacy are divided into six strands:

● Financial Mindset

● Education and Employment

● Money Management

● Saving and Investing

● Credit and Debt

● Risk Management and Insurance

Each strand is an important component in assisting students in gaining self-sufficiency in the workplace or post-secondary training. Students will be equipped with skills and knowledge to effectively manage money at whatever level of income they earn. The addition of the “Financial Mindset” strand, focusing on skills needed for a successful financial future, sets Wisconsin apart from other state and national personal financial literacy standards.

Wisconsin schools will be supported in the implementation of the academic standards for personal financial literacy in partnership with the Department of Financial Institutions, the Governor’s Council for Financial Literacy, and through continued collaboration with local community stakeholders.

Wisconsin Standards for Physical Education

Co-Chairs of the writing committee for the physical education standards:

  • Brett Fuller, Milwaukee Public Schools

  • Penny Kroening, Wisconsin Health and Physical Education Board of Directors

The Wisconsin Standards for Physical Education and performance indicators were developed using an equitable lens giving instructors the flexibility to address every student’s individual needs.

Key changes include:

  • K-8 performance indicators are written by grade level and the high school indicators are broken into three levels to meet the 1.5 graduation credit requirement.

  • Standards four and five are updated to bolster social-emotional learning and growth mindset aligning with the Wisconsin Social and Emotional Learning Competencies.

  • With Wisconsin’s abundance of lakes and rivers, performance indicators in aquatics were added for schools with access to aquatic facilities.

The Wisconsin Standards for Physical Education were revised to provide sufficient guidance with enough flexibility to work best in local contexts to reflect a progression of teaching and learning.

In Wisconsin, all state standards serve as a model. Locally elected school boards adopt academic standards in each subject area to best serve their local community.


For more information, visit the DPI Academic Standards web page.