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The Lakeland Times | Minocqua, Wisc.

Jim Tait 02/01-02/28/17

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December 17, 2017

12/5/2017 7:28:00 AM
LUHS report card data released to the public
Wisconsin DPI grades school as 'meeting expectations'
Though many young people across America are no doubt already familiar with this test, others might not be familiar with it at all.

The ACT (originally stood for American College Testing) was created in the late '50s as a means to test what an individual has actually learned in school before going on to higher education. Crafted by a professor at the University of Iowa, more than 1 million Americans took the test in 2012, surpassing the SAT for the first time in its history.

Evan J. Pretzer
Lakeland Times reporter

At last week's meeting of the Lakeland Union High School board, which saw area residents and other stakeholders succeed in the next step needed in making their goal of a new school in the Northwoods a reality, there was also a new development for the high school itself.

Specifically, its annual evaluation from the state - which uses last year's data - was released and analyzed extensively in order to determine what to do in the coming years.

Every year, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) produces detailed reports for every publicly funded school district and school in Wisconsin.

Categories assessed by the state include student achievement, growth, and absenteeism rates.

In a presentation at the meeting, LUHS pupil services and curriculum director Robert Way walked officials through numbers and discussed areas which needed work.

First up was the category of student achievement. Here, things are adequate.

"For student achievement, which is our top priority, we were slightly above the state average in this category (LUHS received a score of 60.7 as opposed to 60.2 in state)," he said. "For the most part, student achievement is a compilation of ACT scores."

According to the report card, the skills evaluated for this grouping are a pupil's ability in English and their aptitude with mathematics.

Presently, students at LUHS are slightly above the Wisconsin score for English skill (32.9 as opposed to 31.8) and a little bit below the total score for numerical study (27.8 vs. a statewide score of 28.4 out of 50).

Though the high school is performing adequately in this area, one sector where Way conceded LUHS is struggling is in achievement, specifically, closing gaps between kids.

"If you look at this category, we're slightly below the state average," Way said. "What this means is we have serious achievement gaps between our non-white and white students and our lower socio-economic individuals and those better off ... if we want to get graded as 'exceeds expectations,' we need to work very hard to close this gap."

For board member Dr. Tom Gabert, this was a particular point of concern.

"You've talked an awful lot about closing the (achievement) gaps," he said. "Will you be coming back in the next few months with recommendations about what (to do on this)?"

In response, Way asserted he would and it would be a full throated effort to raise stats.

"Yes, the administrative team is looking at various things from a curricular standpoint, student schedules and even our essential learning targets," Way said. "It's going to be an all hands on deck effort to resolve this issue and make improvements in the future."

Evan J. Pretzer may be reached via email at evan@lakelandtimes.com.

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