Note: Mercer’s Closing Gap score changed by at least 20 points since 2017-18, which the DPI considers an outlier. As a result, Mercer did not receive a Closing Gap score and the remaining three priority areas were weighted appropriately. Graphic by Dean Hall.
Note: Mercer’s Closing Gap score changed by at least 20 points since 2017-18, which the DPI considers an outlier. As a result, Mercer did not receive a Closing Gap score and the remaining three priority areas were weighted appropriately. Graphic by Dean Hall.
Earlier last month, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) released its Accountability Report Cards for 2018-19. For the first time since 2011-12, when the report cards were introduced, scores dropped across all five schools in the Lakeland Area School District, as well as at Mercer.

Accountability Report Cards are designed to keep schools, parents and students aware of areas where schools are either struggling or succeeding. The report cards not only show changes within each individual school from year to year, but also how the school stacks up against similar schools across the state.

Schools receive an overall score out of 100 based on four weighted priority areas: Student Achievement, School Growth, Closing Gaps, and On-Track and Postsecondary Readiness. Each of priority area is also scored out of 100, and measured against the state average.

Since the first round of report cards, the metrics used to calculate scores have shifted, making it somewhat difficult to compare a school’s progress from year to year.

Here is how the six local schools stacked up against one another this year:



1. Arbor-Vitae Woodruff (AV-W) Elementary: 81.8

For the first time since the DPI’s report cards were implemented in 2011-12, AV-W received the highest score in the Lakeland Area School District. The school’s overall score was 81.8 points, making it the only school to score over 80 points this year. With that score, the school earned four stars and landed in the “Exceeds Expectations” category.

AV-W earned a place in the “Significantly Exceeds Expectations” category on the 2017-18 report card with a score of 83.2. Schools must earn 83-100 points to qualify for this category.

The total drop in this year’s score was 1.4 points, which was the smallest margin of change across all six schools. 

The school increased its scores in Student Achievement, Closing Gaps, and On-Track and Postsecondary Readiness, but lost 8.5 points in School Growth. 

This year, the school earned 78.4 points in School Growth, down from 86.9 points.

Since 51.4% of AV-W’s student body is economically disadvantaged, School Growth accounted for 35.9% of the overall score. Consequently, the 8.5 point drop had a big impact.



2. North Lakeland Elementary (NL): 79.6

North Lakeland has consistently had the highest or second highest overall score within the Lakeland Area School District each year. 

Although the 2018-19 report card was no exception, the school’s score fell a total of 5.5 points to 79.6 points. It is the first time North Lakeland has scored below 80 points since 2013-14. 

Last year, the school scored 85.1 points. The year before it scored 87.3. 

North Lakeland’s scores fell in every priority area except On-Track and Postsecondary Readiness, where it achieved a slight improvement of 0.8 points. 

Still, North Lakeland’s Student Achievement score was the highest of any Lakeland Area District elementary school, combining ELA and Math achievement scores for a total of 83.1 points.

North Lakeland touts 100% in test participation and though this score is not included in the overall score, it implies that the overall score is a complete overview of the school’s performance.



3. Minocqua Elementary (MHLT): 76.8

Although MHLT was the third highest performer and still “Exceeds Expectations” with 76.8 points, it had the largest drop in score out of the area schools. 

MHLT was the top school last year with a score of 87.3, making this year’s score a 10.5 point drop. Like North Lakeland, this was MHLT’s lowest score since 2013-14.

The DPI classifies a 10-point change in overall score within a single year an “outlier,” stating this large a change, up or down “may not reflect the actual magnitude of change in performance.”

MHLT particularly struggled in School Growth, where it was 26.5 points below last year’s score. Meanwhile, Closing Gaps was down 11.7 points. 

For more details on MHLT’s score and the school board’s discussion of it, see the article “MHLT School Report card score drops over 10 points,” which appeared in the Nov. 26 edition of The Lakeland Times.



4. Lac du Flambeau (LdF) Elementary: 70.6

This year, LdF’s school dipped a full 3 points below its score of 73.3 from last year. With the drop, the school fell from the four-star “Exceeds Expectations” category to the three-star “Meets Expectations” category. 

The school’s score has lingered in the low-70s for the past three years, achieving its highest score in 2016-17 with 74.4 points.

This year, LdF scored 69.9 points for School Growth, down 5.6 points, but was the only priority area that the school scored above the state average. Still, the 5.6 point deficit is responsible for the majority of the school’s point loss as the single category accounted for 45% of the overall score as 95.2% of its student body is economically disadvantaged. 

Consequently, Student Achievement only counted as 5% of the overall score. 

LdF was well below state average in Student Achievement, scoring 41.1 points compared to the state’s 63.5. 

The only area where the school improved this year was Closing Gaps, raising its ELA Achievement Gaps by 1.7 points, but losing 1 point in Mathematics Achievement Gaps for a total point increase of only 0.7 in the category.

Like North Lakeland, LdF had 100% test participation this year.



5. Lakeland Union High School (LUHS): 65.3

Since 2015-16, LUHS has consistently had the lowest overall score on the report card out of the five Lakeland Area schools. Although the high school earned its highest score of 69.8 last year, it dropped 4.4 points this year for a score of 65.3. The school remained in the “Meets Expectations” category.

LUHS saw improvements in two priority areas: Student Achievement and On-Track and Postsecondary Readiness. 

The total Student Achievement score increased by 1 point, but only reflects improvement in ELA Achievement, as Mathematics Achievement fell by 0.2 points. The school remains 2.5 points above state average for the priority area.

The school improved by two points in On-Track and Postsecondary readiness. Since the high school has a 12 grade, this score is equivalent to the Graduation Rate.

School Growth was a new category for LUHS this year, wherein it scored 51.8 points, 14.2 points below state average.

For more details on LUHS’s score and the school board’s discussion of it, see the article “LUHS discusses school report card” in Friday’s Nov. 22 edition of The Times.



6. Mercer School: 50.4

With only 50.4 points, not only did Mercer earn the lowest score between all six local schools, but it earned one of the lowest scores in the state and “Fails to Meet Expectations.”

Mercer has struggled on the last three report cards, slipping further behind each year. 

The low score is quite shocking considering Mercer had one of the top scores in the state in 2015-16, with 88 points, higher than all five schools in the Lakeland Area School District. 

This year, Mercer slipped under the state average of 62.3 points in Student Achievement for the very first time with only 59.7 points, down 12.4 points from last year. 

Mercer did improve by 7.6 points in School Growth, a somewhat skewed metric as ELA Growth increased by 8.6 points, while Mathematics Growth fell by 1. 

The school only scored 30.9 points for School Growth. 

For more details on Mercer’s score and the school board’s discussion of it, see the article “‘We do care about and support our students'” in the Nov. 22 edition of The Times.



More information

To view each school’s complete report card and see how other schools around Wisconsin scored, visit https://apps2.dpi.wi.gov/reportcards/.

Delaney FitzPatrick may be reached via email at delaney@lakelandtimes.com.