School Report Cards (Accountability)

What We Know Now


Annual report cards will pro­vide stake­hold­ers with data regard­ing a school’s per­for­mance and progress toward hav­ing all stu­dents reach col­lege and career readi­ness goals iden­ti­fied by the state. Four pri­or­ity areas (stu­dent achieve­ment, stu­dent growth, clos­ing gaps, and on track/​post sec­ondary readi­ness) will be fac­tored into an over­all account­abil­ity index score on a 100 point scale.


This new direc­tion comes from the empha­sis at the national, state, and local lev­els for greater account­abil­ity toward hav­ing all stu­dents reach the higher stan­dards artic­u­lated by the Com­mon Core. Wis­con­sin, along with other states, applied for waivers from some prob­lem­atic pro­vi­sions of No Child Left Behind as reau­tho­riza­tion of that leg­is­la­tion is debated. An Account­abil­ity Design Team made up of key state stake­hold­ers set the para­me­ters for Wisconsin’s waiver appli­ca­tion and sys­tem for account­abil­ity reform. The new, dif­fer­en­ti­ated sys­tem extends beyond solely look­ing at achieve­ment as the indi­ca­tor of suc­cess and instead also val­ues growth. At this time, the time­line for school report card release is antic­i­pated to occur in fall, 2012.

Considerations and Implications:

In antic­i­pa­tion of the imple­men­ta­tion of Smarter Bal­anced Assess­ments in 201415, Wis­con­sin schools can expect that their scores will drop mea­sur­ably. This change will occur because both the stan­dards for all stu­dents and the cut scores indi­cat­ing the level of per­for­mance are sig­nif­i­cantly higher. Begin­ning in 2011-​12, a tran­si­tion will take place; and the WKCE scores will be con­verted to NAEP-​like rat­ings. It is crit­i­cal that edu­ca­tors be knowl­edge­able about these changes and plan to com­mu­ni­cate to par­ents, com­mu­nity mem­bers, and media in advance. Teach­ers and admin­is­tra­tors need to focus on inte­grat­ing the Com­mon Core Stan­dards into their prac­tices; under­stand the changes that the Smarter Bal­anced Assess­ments encom­pass; align for­ma­tive and sum­ma­tive class­room assess­ment to the new learn­ing expec­ta­tions; and increase effec­tive­ness in the use of data to mea­sure learn­ing and adjust instruc­tion. Changes are likely to occur over time, and edu­ca­tors need to stay abreast of on-​going developments.


DPI Account­abil­ity Reform Web­page:

Lon­gi­tu­di­nal Data Sys­tem Web­page:

Karen Wendorf-​Heldt and Mary Bowen-​Eggebraaten,
WASCD Board of Directors

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