MADISON — Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS) results for public school students in grades three through eight showed that 51.2 percent were proficient or advanced in English language arts and 43.7 percent scored at the proficient or advanced levels in mathematics for the 2014-15 statewide exams.
“Overall results for the WSAS are a good starting point for Wisconsin’s more rigorous testing program,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “Though the Badger Exam is a one-year event, our new Forward Exam will be administered this spring and will provide an opportunity to improve over time.”
Both the Badger and Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) exams, which made up the WSAS for grades three through eight, are aligned with Wisconsin Academic Standards adopted in 2010. In mathematics, students in grades three and four had stronger overall proficiency levels than students in higher grades. This may possibly be attributed to full implementation of the Wisconsin Standards for Mathematics, which served as the foundation for mathematics instruction since these students began school.
Assessment results by race and ethnicity show achievement gaps that have been evident on other state and national exams. Gaps also are apparent for English language learners, students with disabilities, and economically disadvantaged students and their peers. (See table in official news release)
“These achievement gaps are most troubling,” Evers said. “We are using data from our statewide assessments and other resources to identify schools that are successful with various low‑achieving groups so we can learn about their strategies, share those practices across the state, and ensure every student graduates college and career ready.”
The Badger Exam, an online assessment in English language arts and mathematics, and the DLM were administered last spring to 367,327 students statewide. Just over 1 percent of those students (4,724) took the DLM, which measures the academic progress of students with significant cognitive disabilities. Participation in these two WSAS exams was 97 percent with 10,090 students not tested in English Language Arts and 10,469 not tested in mathematics. Of the not tested students, 7,535 were opted out in both subjects by their parents or guardians.
The Badger Exam and DLM replaced Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examinations (WKCE) and the Wisconsin Alternate Assessment for Students with Disabilities (WAA-SwD) for students in grades three through eight. There are significant differences between the Badger and WKCE exams, which negates comparing results to prior years. (See sidebar in official news release)
WSAS results are reported across four performance levels — advanced, proficient, basic, and below basic — that are anchored in college and career readiness expectations. The Badger Exam was developed through the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. Legislation adopted as part of the 2015-17 state budget prohibits the Department of Public Instruction from using exams developed by the consortium. Data Recognition Corporation has been contracted to provide the Forward Exam, which will be a custom assessment with test items developed and reviewed by Wisconsin educators. The state has a six-year contract with the company for test development, administration, and scoring and reporting.
NOTES: A table with additional information about statewide student performance on the Badger and Dynamic Learning Maps exams is in the official news release. Public schools and school districts have received their Wisconsin Student Assessment System results (Badger and DLM exams) through the Department of Public Instruction data portal. Statewide and district-level results are not yet available in the WISEdash Public Portal. Please contact area schools or districts for local results.