Janesville School District outpaces state average in testing

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Nick Crow
Tuesday, April 8, 2014

JANESVILLE —Although students in the Janesville School District outperformed students statewide in both reading and math in this year's Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exams, Kim Ehrhardt, director of instructional service, said there's always room for improvement.

"There were some holes, some places students didn't do as well as we like," Ehrhardt said. "Now we will assess the data. There will be data retreats in the spring to breakdown what the data means. The assessment will turn into a school improvement plan that sets the course for target improvements for next year. All scores go under the microscope."

The Janesville School District scored 7 percent higher than the state average in math and 4 percent higher in reading, according to statistics released by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction on Tuesday.

"The district five or six years ago was always at or below the state average," Ehrhardt said. "We want to be exceeding the state average. That's always our target."

Grades three through eight and 10 are tested in math and reading as a part of the exam. The results by grade were as follows:

Third grade: The district improved overall in both reading and math from last year. Wilson Elementary rose from 12 percent advanced or proficient in reading in 2012 to 50 percent in 2013. In math, Wilson improved from 44 percent proficient to 65 percent.

Fourth grade: The district dropped by 4 percent in both reading and math from its 2012 figures. It still exceeded the state average in math and tied with the state reading average. Monroe Elementary improved reading scores by 13 percent from 2012 to 2013, and Roosevelt Elementary improved math scores by 19 percent from the previous year.

Fifth grade: The district rose 2 percent in reading and dropped 2 percent in math but remained above state averages in both categories. Both Kennedy and Van Buren Elementary schools rose 9 percent from last year in reading. Wilson Elementary rose 16 percent in math.

Sixth grade: The district stayed the same in reading and dropped 7 percent in math. It remained above state averages in both areas. Marshall Middle School improved its reading by 3 percent from last year, and all three middle schools dropped in math from their 2012 scores.

Seventh grade: The district stayed the same in reading and dropped in math by 6 percent compared to 2012. The remained above the state average in both areas. Marshall Middle School improved by 3 percent in reading, but all three schools performed below their 2012 percentages in math.

Eighth grade: The district dropped in reading by 6 percent and math by 3 percent compared to it's 2012 numbers but stayed above state averages in both categories. All three middle schools were below their 2012 averages in reading, and Franklin Middle School improved 4 percent on its 2012 number in math.

10th grade: The district improved by 2 percent in reading but dropped 6 percent in math compared to last year. Both numbers remain above state averages. Craig High School improved 4 percent from last year, while Parker remained steady. Both schools dropped compared to last year in math.

"The state average is a great comparison, how we compare and make sense of what our data says," Ehrhardt said. "The last three years, we've had a stronger showing finishing above (the state)."

This is the last year for students to take the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam in math and reading, Ehrhardt said. Next year they will begin taking online assessments through the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. They will continue to take social studies, science and language tests through the same system in grades four, eight and 10.

"Janesville continues to outperform the state," Ehrhardt said. "That's the piece that's exciting.

"This is very impressive, but there are still areas we need to grow and improve and make better progress in," he said.

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