PCSD tops state average in math, science, social studies on Forward Exam

Pulaski Community School District topped state average math scores on the Forward Exam given to district students in the 2015-16 school year.  The district also scored higher than the state average in science and social studies but just below the state average in English Language Arts.

The Forward Exam was administered online to about 370,000 Wisconsin students in grades three through eight in ELA and mathematics; grades four and eight in science and grades four, eight and 10 in social studies.  Students participated in the Forward Exam in the spring of 2016 for the first time.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction noted in a release to districts that the Forward Exam “incorporates innovative and better ways for students to demonstrate what they know and can do.” The Forward Exam replaces the Badger Exam and the WKCE exams that were previously used. Because the Forward Exam replaced the other two tests and is more rigorous, the DPI noted, comparisons shouldn’t be made between the tests in similar categories from previous years.

On the math portion of the test, 52.6 percent of Pulaski test participants were rated advanced or proficient compared to a state percentage of 42.5 percent in those categories. 

On the ELA portion of the test, 41.9 percent of test participants were rated advanced or proficient compared to a state percentage of 42.7 in those categories. 

PCSD had higher scores than the state average in science (55.7 percent proficient  compared to 50.6  statewide) and in social studies (54.7 percent to 49.7 percent).

Compared to other Fox River Classic Conference schools, Pulaski generally scored in the middle. Pulaski scores in the individual categories are shown along with the highest and lowest scores of the conference schools:

●      Subject, ELA; Pulaski, 41.9 percent; highest, De Pere, 63.9 percent; lowest, Green Bay, 32.2;

●      Math, Pulaski, 52.6 percent; De Pere, 65.5 percent; Green Bay, 29.5;

●      Science, Pulaski, 55.7 percent; De Pere, 64.5 percent; Green Bay, 39.7 percent; and

●      Social Studies, Pulaski, 54.7 percent; De Pere, 69.5 percent; Green Bay, 37 percent.

Jennifer Gracyalny, district director of learning services, said the Forward Exam results are used along with formative assessments and district testing results to drive school improvement.  The Forward Exam is only one piece of data used to make instructional decisions for students and programs.

Gracyalny said the state changing from test (WKCE) to test (Badger Exam) to test (Forward Exam) hindered achievement. “The state not only created moving (learning/assessments) targets but in some instances unknown targets.”

The DPI expects state Forward Exam scores to stabilize the more years the Forward Exam is administered.