Statewide standardized tests are an important gauge of the success in a child’s education.
Students were graded on a stricter scale this year, and the results show a mix across districts in our area.
Associate Superintendent of the La Crosse School District Troy Harcey says the results of the Wisconsin Education and Concepts Exam are not where he wants them to be.
“We'd always love to see us be at or above the state level,” said Harcey. “Exceeding the state level would be even better.”
But Harcey said the scores give him hope things are moving in the right direction.
“We know we're in the process of constant change, so we're hopeful for an improved success as we go forward,” said Harcey.
About 35 percent of students in the La Crosse School District scored proficient or advanced in reading.
For math, it was 42 percent.
Both scores are below the state average of 36 and 48 respectively.
Onalaska students scored nearly 10 percent above the state average in both categories.
“We're very happy in some areas, there are a couple of areas that we thought we could do better in and we'll be analyzing that to find out why,” said Fran Finco, Onalaska School District superintendent.
Finco said focusing on individual student needs as well as innovative and collaborative teaching methods are just some of the things that help students do well on the test.
But even with better-than-average scores, Finco said there's still work to be done.
“We never get to all the kids,” said Finco. “If you have 80 percent proficient, that means there's 20 percent that you still need to get to. So it's always a continuous improvement type march.”
Despite below average test scores, the work educators are doing in the La Crosse district is proving to close gaps with students facing disabilities or socio-economic status challenges.
Harcey said that is a big step forward.
“The good news is not only did those gaps reduce, but both groups saw their proficiency go up, which is exciting particularly with the knowledge that the rigor for the math and reading, the benchmark has really increased,” said Harcey.
The higher benchmarks aren't the only changes students in Wisconsin are facing in standardize tests.
Soon, districts will change to online assessment where the questions will be modified depending on whether the student answers them correctly.
The change will provide test scores right away instead of months after taking the test, but it may also include another learning curve for students and educators.
Students in the School District of Holmen scored above the state average in both categories with 42 percent in reading and 53 percent in math.
West Salem also scored above the state average for both including 37 percent in reading and 51 percent in math.
Bangor scored just below the state average for reading with 34 percent, but slightly above the average in math with 49 percent.