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Greenfield - All six Greenfield schools meet or exceed expectations on the 2015-16 Wisconsin school report cards, although Greenfield High School with a score of 63 has the lowest score a school can get and still meet expectations.

The next lowest level, for schools with scores from 62.9 to 53, is the meets few expectations category.

Two Greenfield elementary schools,  Edgewood and and Glenwood, exceeded expectations. The other two elementary schools narrowly missed exceeding expectations - Elmdale by less than a point and Maple Grove by 1.2 points.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction started the report cards five years ago to offer a better picture of how well individual schools prepare students to graduate ready for college or career.

Four areas tested

Overall scores are based on four priority areas, each with its own rating of 0 to 100. Scores of 100 to 83 are significantly exceeds expectations, 82.9 to 73 exceeds expectations, 72.9 to 63 meets expectations, 62.9 to 53 meets few expectations, and 52.9 to 0 fails to meet expectations.

Each school and the entire school district also get individual scores. The Greenfield School District met expectations, with a score of 67.1.

The high school's relatively lagging performance appears to have been due to difficulty with math, said Patrice Ball, director of curriculum, assessment and instruction for the secondary schools.

"While our percentage of students performing at the most advanced level stayed the same, fewer students demonstrated proficiency in mathematics," she said in an email interview. Indeed, Greenfield High fell far below the statewide high school average for math. Greenfield High's average was 23.8 and the state average was 30.5.

The report cards and other indicators show that math is a districtwide need, Ball said.

Less hard data

Beyond that, the report cards have gotten away from actual achievement data, she said.

"Starting with this year’s report cards, calculations are not based only on proficiency (attainment); they also include expected growth," she said. Growth in scores is one of the four subcategories that form the basis of schools' overall scores. The problem is that growth is not measured by actual improvements in test scores. Instead, it is measured against progress that is expected to be made, according to the DPI information distributed to schools. Those expectations were developed by the  Value-Added Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and by the DPI.

Not only that, whatever achievement the Greenfield schools have in reading and math doesn't have as much weight as growth with its value-added expectation, the DPI notes. So, school districts such as Greenfield with more than 35 percent of students coming from economically disadvantaged homes will see lower scores, if achievement is stronger than growth, than if growth were not weighted so heavily, according to the DPI.

Fuzzing the situation is that expected growth is different for different schools, depending on the percentage of students coming from economically disadvantaged homes, Ball said.

Because of these more or less wild cards, comparisons cannot be made among schools because demographic data differ, with the percentage of expected growth varying accordingly, she said.

Above state averages

While meeting or exceeding expectations, the Greenfield schools scored above the state average nine times out of 12 in the two remaining subcategories after growth and achievement are left out. For example, Maple Grove was was above the state average in closing the gaps among student groups but below the state average in keeping students on track for career and work.

The district as a whole had the same result. It is above average in closing the gaps, with a score of 63.5 compared with the state average of 60.8. And it's just barely below the state average in keeping on track -- the district score being 86.1 compared with the state average of 86.6.

There are signs of strength in the report cards, Ball said.

"As far as areas where we currently see strength from a districtwide perspective, we have noted that students are doing well in English language arts and reading," Ball said. The districtwide average for English language arts was a bit above the statewide average. The district average was 33.8 and the state average 33.6.

Although Elmdale's success in English brought the district average up, the other schools were fairly close to the state English average.

GREENFIELD'S 2015-16 REPORT CARDS:

District: meets expectations with a score of 67.1

Greenfield High School: meets expectations with a score of 63

Greenfield Middle School: meets expectations with a score of 70.4

Edgewood Elementary: exceeds expectations with a score of 75.4

Glenwood Elementary: exceeds expectations with a score of 73.1

Elm Dale Elementary: meets expectations with a score of 72.1

Maple Grove Elementary: meets expectations with a score of 71.8

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