Wautoma School Board hears presentation on Forward Exam results

Wautoma Area School District Director of Instruction Sandi Jarvis provided a presentation on the results from the 2015-16 and 2017-18 Forward Exam during the Wautoma Area School Board’s regular meeting on Feb. 12 at Riverview Elementary School.

The Wisconsin Forward Exam is designed to measure how well students are performing in relation to state academic standards, with students in grades 3-8 taking English Language Arts and Mathematics; grades 4-8 assessed in Science; and grades 4, 8 and 10 testing in Social Studies. Jarvis explained by administering the Forward Exam in 2015-16 and 2017-18, it was the first time in four years the district was able to have consistent data spanning two school years.

From the data received from the test, Jarvis stated questions could be raised regarding the proficiency of the students and why some grades seem to be struggling more than others. However, with a lot of move-ins coming into the district, Jarvis found many of the teachers and intervention classes having to play catch-up in order to get the new students at the level they should be.

Riverview Elementary Principal Ann Fajfer agreed with Jarvis, stating many of her teachers are spending a great deal of time trying to catch students up.

The data Jarvis presented to the board found that there are some years in which students excel while others are not testing as well. In comparison to the state average, Wautoma students who tested in 2016-17 in grades 3-5 were close to the state average or above in English Language Arts and Mathematics, but the students’ proficiency in grades 6-8 were significantly lower than the state average.

Jarvis went on to show comparisons in demographics as well as the Forward results between the 6-8th grade students enrolled in WASD and the other schools in the South Central Conference.

Jarvis found Wautoma and the Wisconsin Dells are closest in percentage of English Language Learners, with Wautoma at 7.8 percent and Wisconsin Dells at 9 percent. Wautoma is second behind Adams-Friendship in the percentage of economically disadvantaged students, at 57.4 percent, which is closest to Mauston’s 55 percent, while Wautoma’s Students with Disabilities population is currently at 10.9 percent, comparable to Wisconsin Dells at 11.9 percent.

In comparing the SCC results from the Forward Exam, Wautoma students were near the middle of the conference in English Language Arts and Mathematics, but were still below the state average in 6-8th grade.

After reviewing the data, Wautoma School Board President Ross Peterson asked District Administrator Jeff Kasuboski and Wautoma High School Principal and incoming District Administrator Tom Rheinheimer what the district should set for goals.

Kasuboski explained goals should be based on growth of the students, while Rhein-heimer added his goal has always been to get the students close to the state average as possible.

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