Wisconsin test scores show slight dip in English, Math proficiency

FOX VALLEY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released new data Thursday that shows statewide student math and English scores dropped slightly during the last school year.

Wisconsin Student Assessment System exams evaluate English and math scores across 3rd through 11th grades. Results from the last school year show 39 percent of students are proficient in English and 40 percent are proficient in Math.

The Appleton Area School District falls closely in line with those averages.

“We are continuously trying to make sure we’re improving our scores overall,” said Assistant Superintendent of Assessment, Curriculum and Instruction Steve Harrison.

Harrison says in northcentral Wisconsin several factors like poverty level, transiency and mental health among students can affect test scores.

“As a district we really try to approach it as a whole child model and making sure that we’re meeting all the needs of our students,” said Harrison.

He does say it’s important to note state scores are usually taken one day in a school year and don’t necessarily reflect the continuous, day-to-day work.

“Even though the assessments are helpful in that they give us a set of standards that we need to apply towards, it is important that we also keep the bigger picture in mind,” said Harrison.

The Neenah School District, though it also had some slight dips in scores, consistently performs above the state average.

“Early intervention and early, strong programs, high quality curriculum resources is what’s really needed right from the get-go,” said

Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Susan Hull says in recent years the district has brought in new math and English programming to grades as young as kindergarten.

“We’re constantly looking at how are students are performing and constantly assessing how the programs that we have are being implemented and are they producing the results we are looking for,” said Hull.

Overall, when the state average scores are broken down, some grades and student groups did increase proficiency. But regardless of schools who are meeting expectations, or exceeding them, the goal districts have for their students is to constantly improve.

“Really proud of the work we continue to do and focusing on continuously getting better,” said Harrison.

“We are always striving to improve and we’re proud of where we are, but we’re not satisfied with that and we always want to get better,” said Hull.

For a full breakdown of the state data CLICK HERE. To compare and contrast a district's scores to the state average, visit the Wisconsin Information System for Education CLICK HERE.