By Ben Rodgers
HOWARD – The most recent data from the state shows strong test scores from the Howard-Suamico School District.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction recently released the scores from the Forward Exam and the ACT Plus Writing.
In all exams the district was above the state average.
The two exams are part of the Wisconsin Student Assessment System. They are the state and federally required summative.
The Forward exam is given to students in grades 3 through 8, while the ACT is administered to high school juniors.
This is the second year data from these tests are available, as they replaced previously used assessments.
“We try to consistently be far above the state average so we find it even more helpful to use this information in conversations with other districts,” said Andrea Thiry-Wenz, director of teaching and learning for the district.
When comparing itself to other districts, Howard-Suamico will look at data from peer schools, like De Pere, West De Pere, Ashwaubenon and Pulaski, to name a few.
The data for Howard-Suamico shows cumulative 2016-17 Forward scores of 50.4 for ELA, 49.8 for math, 58.6 for science and 58.8 for social studies. The respective state averages are 44.4 for ELA, 42.8 for math, 49.7 for science and 49.6 for social studies.
However, Forward scores in the district dipped slightly from 2015-16 to 2016-17.
Thiry-Wenz said it might just be a case of the data waiting to correct itself, as it’s only the second year.
“I’m looking forward to three years of data so we can triangulate that and look for patterns and things we can improve,” she said. “But I’d be even more excited if we got student data and we can see where we are falling short, areas where we are strong and how we can move forward and improve our instruction with that.”
The ACT Plus Writing Scores showed 8.6 percent of students tested advanced and 40.4 percent tested proficient, with an overall average score of 19.6 in 2016-17.
The state averages were 6.3 percent advanced, 33.3 percent proficient and and average overall score of 18.3.
With the implementation of these new assessment standards all students are now required to take the ACT.
In the past the students who took that exam were ones who wanted the test score for college applications.
Those students tend to take the ACT more seriously and prepare with classes and extra study materials.
“We try to work with all of our students to get as much experience as possible,” Thiry-Wenz said of ACT prep.
In education though test scores are only part of the picture.
“The state average is one way to look at things, and we try to look at data from different angles to find out how we are doing and who we can talk to make improvements to help us move along,” Thiry-Wenz said. “I think that the rigor has definitely seen an increase in the last few years and we are working with kids so they understand themselves as a learner and have some conversations about the curriculum they’re learning with.”