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All 10 schools in the Kettle Moraine School District (KMSD) exceeded expectations according to accountability report cards released Nov. 17 by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). Some of the schools significantly exceeded expectations.

"We are very proud to be significantly exceeding expectations according to the 2016 District Report Cards issued by the DPI," said KMSD Superintendent Pat Deklotz.

Kettle Moraine Explore, Cushing Elementary, Magee Elementary, Wales Elementary, Kettle Moraine Middle School, KM Perform, and High School of Health Sciences received ratings of significantly exceeding expectations on the state report cards.

The report cards measure four areas: student achievement in English language arts and math, student growth, closing gaps between student groups, and measures of readiness for graduation and post-secondary success.

More than 82 percent of public schools in the state exceeded or significantly exceeded expectations on the state report cards, according to the DPI.

The 2015-16 report cards are based on major changes that were included in Wisconsin Act 55, the 2015-17 state budget, according to the DPI. Though they provide a snapshot of school and district performance, the 2015-16 report cards are not comparable to report cards issued in prior years.

Variable weighting was implemented to address the impact of poverty on student achievement. The higher the percentage of economically disadvantaged students in a school or district, the higher the weight that is placed on student growth scores. The method for calculating student growth changed from student growth percentiles to a value-added methodology.

"The state assessment system has gone through many changes over the last few years," Deklotz explained. "Therefore, these report cards will serve as benchmarks for the future."

Deklotz also encourages caution when using the report cards to compare different districts and schools.

"The way in which a district/school’s overall score is calculated is different for each school, therefore making it difficult to make comparisons to different schools/districts on their overall scores," said Deklotz. "Comparisons can be made using the scores from the four priority areas, because the calculations are the same for all schools."

As a result of legislated changes and because report cards rely on multiple years of data for accurate reporting, 2015-16 report cards are based on one year each of Badger and Forward exams, the 11th-grade ACT Plus Writing and Dynamic Learning Maps assessments as well as data from the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam and Wisconsin Alternate Assessment for Students with Disabilities. Using data from three different assessments in calculations, along with other changes, makes comparisons of school and district performance to prior report card ratings inaccurate and inadvisable, according to the DPI.

"The report cards are just one measure of our success," Deklotz pointed out. "We will use these report cards, along with several other data sources, as we plan for continuous improvement."

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