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Watertown school district receives results on student assessment exams

October 4, 2018

MADISON -- Wisconsin Student Assessment System results for all students, public and private choice schools, in grades three through eight and grade 11 showed that 40.6 percent were proficient or advanced levels in English language arts, 41.1 percent in mathematics and 42.5 percent in science for the 2017-18 statewide exams.

The English language arts results are lower than last year which was 42.7 percent while mathematics is gradually improving and science remains steady, according to the news release.

The assessment consists of the Forward Exam given in grades three through eight, the ACT Plus Writing given at grade 11 and Dynamic Learning Maps given across all tested grades to students with significant cognitive disabilities, according to the news release.

The Watertown Unified School District had an ACT composite score of 19.2 in the 2017-18 year. The district’s 2017-18 proficiency rate for the ACT English language arts was 33.9 percent, a decrease from the rate of 41.4 percent from the 2016-17 testing. The proficiency rate for math (32.9 percent) had increased slightly from 31.2 percent in mathematics while the rate decreased in science from 30.5 percent to 28.2 percent this year.

In the Forward Exam, 42.7 percent of students from the Watertown Unified School District were proficient or advanced in science, an increase from the year before, which was 40.9 percent. In mathematics, 42.5 percent of students were proficient or advanced and 32.3 percent were proficient or advanced in English language arts. Mathematics had decreased rates from 45.9 percent and English language arts rates had a drop from 36.4 percent from the 2016-17 testing.

David Vitale, assistant superintendent of the Watertown Unified School District, said they want to improve and there are certain areas they’ve targeted.

“There are clearly areas where we want to improve, English language arts is one of those areas,” Vitale said. “Mathematics has been more competitive over the years. But there’s always room for improvement and so that’s the approach we’re taking throughout the district.”

Vitale said the district watches for trends and that one-year fluctuation isn’t unusual in all schools.

“We want to stably grow over the years in all of our performance areas,” Vitale said.

Students who took the student assessment exams in 2017-18 increased by 2,265, totaling 455,291 students from public and private choice schools. Participation rates went down slightly from 98.2 percent to 97.9 percent this year.

Assessment results by race and ethnicity showed achievement gaps in English proficiency and disability and economic status for both public and private choice schools, according to the news release.

This was the third year students took the Forward Exam. Students in grades three through eight take tests in English language arts and mathematics. Students take a science assessment in grades four and eight, and students in grades four, eight and 10 take a social studies exam. The news release states 42.4 percent of public school students had proficient or advanced results in language arts, 43.8 percent were proficient or advanced in mathematics and 49.9 percent were proficient or advanced in science. Grades three through six and grade eight in public schools improved in proficiency in mathematics. The proficiency rate improved for both public and private school students in English language arts and proficiency rates in mathematics improved among all grades in private choice schools.

The student assessment reported that Wisconsin had a composite score of 19.7 in ACT testing, which is down slightly from 2016-17. For 2017-18 subtests, the scores were 18.1 in English language arts, 19.8 in mathematics and 20.1 in science.

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