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About the Data - Coursework

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Course offerings and course taking patterns provide information about student preparation for postsecondary education and careers. Relevant data for students enrolled in Wisconsin public schools are available on the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Website.

Where to Find Data about Course Offerings and Course-Taking Patterns:
School Years  WISEdash   School District 
 Performance Report 
 WINSS Historical 
 Data Files 
Beginning with 2010-11 -- -- --
1996-97 through 2009-10 -- -- X

Note that district and statewide data are available for the years indicated above, and these data are disaggregated by gender and by grade level. Offerings and course taking for grades 6-12 are included.

To download these data go to the WINSS Historical Data Files web page. You will see files containing data about course offerings and course taking in files for school years 1996-97 through 2009-10. Open the zip file for the school year of interest.

See About WINSS Historical Data Files for more information about accessing and using these files. Below you will find detailed background information, definitions, and related links to facilitate use and appropriate interpretation of DPI-collected/reported coursework data through 2009-10.


  • Variation in district course counts from year to year may be due to changes in district course offerings or changes in course data collected in the Course Offerings Report (PI-1215). Courses listed in summaries for any given school year include only those courses for which data were required in that school year. In some cases, a course will be listed for a school year, and a district may have no data for that course because the district did not offer that course. In other cases, the course will not be listed for a school year, and the district will not have data for that course because the data for that course were not collected that year.
  • Data are available through 2009-10. Updating WINSS coursework data after 2010-11 implementation of the Coursework Completion System (CWCS) was not feasible.

Frequently Asked Questions about Course Offerings and Course-Taking


(Answers apply to data collected/reported through 2009-10.)

What options for post-secondary credit are available to students enrolled in career and technical education courses?

Students who participate in a business, agriculture, marketing, family and consumer science, health occupations, or technology education course may be eligible to receive some kind of credit by a post-secondary institution (technical college, 4-year college, or university).

AS (Advanced Standing) High school students are eligible to receive technical college credit if they successfully complete a course taught by a high school teacher using high school curriculum wherein the high school and the technical college have aligned curriculum competencies and developed an "Articulation Agreement." Upon enrollment in a technical college the student is awarded credit for the course(s) taken in high school. In addition to articulation resulting from these course to course agreements, there are other learning opportunities such as Youth AP Apprenticeship and Certified Cooperative Education programs that could result in advanced standing credit. All Wisconsin technical colleges will accept advanced standing from another technical college if the course is comparable to competencies and credits awarded at the second technical college.

TC (Transcripted Credit) High school students earn postsecondary credit for successfully completing college level courses. A transcript is awarded from a postsecondary institution (technical college, 4-year college or university) that documents the credits awarded for the course. Transcripted credit may be earned at the high school, on-site at the postsecondary institution, through distance learning, or Internet courses. These courses may also be referred to as "technical college credit" or "dual credit" courses when they are taught by a high school teacher with Wisconsin Technical College System articulation Certification and an "articulation Agreement" between the high school and the technical college is on file.

Wisconsin's Youth Options Program allows public high school juniors and seniors who meet certain requirements to take postsecondary courses at a UW institution, a Wisconsin technical college, one of the state's participating private nonprofit institutions of higher education, or tribally controlled colleges. AP approved courses can count toward high school graduation and college credit. Under the Youth Options Program, a student does not pay for a college courses if the school board determines the course qualifies for high school credit and is not comparable to a course already offered in the school districts. If AP approved by the school board, the student can receive both high school and college credit upon successful completion of the course. For more information, see Wisconsin's Youth Options Programs.

Definitions of Key Terms


For definitions, see the WISEdash Glossary (includes terms used in WINSS files).

Counting Courses and Students


Courses offered and students taking courses in grades 6-12 are counted by DPI-described content area within each of several subject areas.

Courses. A course is counted if it covers the described course content and, in any given school year, is offered by one or more teachers in one or more classes or sections. If it has a distinct course number, it is counted only once. A course may be one year, one semester, or one quarter in length. A course is not a section or class. Course counts provided in WINSS historical data files include Advanced Placement Program ® (AP), Cooperative Academic Partnership Program (CAPP), and International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB) courses.

Students. A student is counted if, during the indicated school year, he/she takes one or more distinct courses covering the "course content." If a district has multiple distinct courses covering the "course content," and if a student takes more than one course, then the student is still counted only once in the "sum of students taking courses" in the described "course content". Student counts are provided for Advanced Placement Program ® (AP), Cooperative Academic Partnership Program (CAPP), International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB), and a wide range of other courses.

Data Sources

  • Beginning with 2010-11, data about coursework are extracted from data submitted as part of the Coursework Completion System (CWCS).
  • Prior to 2010-11, counts of courses offered and student taking courses are extracted from data submitted by local school districts on the Course Offerings Report (PI-1215). This report is also sometimes called the Curriculum Report. For more information about this collection see the PI-1215 instructions.
  • Beginning with 2004-05, total enrollment counts are 3rd Friday of September counts based on Individual Student Enrollment System Count Date records.
  • Prior to 2004-05, total enrollment counts are based on the PI-1290 Fall Enrollment Collection. For the PI-1290, school districts summed up their students and reported the total on the 3rd Friday of September rather than reporting each individual student electronically.

Data Changes Over Time


  • 1996-97 through 2009-10. Courses included in the Course Offerings Report (PI-1215) vary from year to year. Changes in courses included in the PI-1215 collection are reflected in the course records for each year in the data files. If a course is not included in the collection for any given year, then number_of_districts_offering_at_least_one_course is "NA" in the course offerings file for that year and the course is not included at all in course taking files for that year.

  • Beginning with 2007-08. International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB) courses were added to the Course Offerings Report (PI-1215) and the WINSS historical data files.The course type "DPI-Defined Advanced Coursework" was dropped and courses previously included in this course type are retroactively included in the course type "Other Courses".
  • Beginning with 2010-11. Course Offerings Report (PI-1215) was replaced by the Coursework Completion System (CWCS).

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