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  • Dr. Kristi Cole

Accountability: TLA & the State Report Card System

School report card season is upon us. As part of the state accountability system, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) produces a report card for every publicly funded school and district in the state. As this is The Lincoln Academy’s first year receiving a report card, I thought it might be helpful to review the state report card process and how TLA fits into it all.

School Report Card Basics

Report cards are issued annually for the previous school year. They include data on multiple indicators for multiple years across four different priority areas:

  • Achievement

  • Growth

  • Target Group Outcomes

  • On-Track to Graduation

Evaluation of the indicator data results in a school or district’s overall accountability score. This score places the school/district into one of five overall accountability rating categories:

Alternate Accountability

As part of the report card accountability system, DPI has an alternate accountability process for schools that do not have the data necessary to calculate a school report card score. Schools that fall into this process include those that have fewer than 20 full academic year students in tested grades in the current year, schools with no tested grades (K4-2 schools) and NEW schools (first three years).

The Lincoln Academy, as a new school/district, is participating in the alternate accountability process for the 2021-2022 school year. As a result, our report card looks a bit different than a report card for a more established school/district. It lists an alternate rating instead of one of the standard rating categories outlined above and contains no prior year data. You can access our report card here by selecting The Lincoln Academy as the District.

How Alternate Accountability Works for New Schools

Alternate accountability is a DPI prescribed, district-supervised self-evaluation process. The school/district assesses performance in three priority areas that align with both school report cards and accountability requirements from the US Department of Education:

  • Raising Student Achievement in Reading

  • Raising Student Achievement in Mathematics

  • Preparing Students to be On-Track for Success

New schools that do not have data from a prior year select an indicator that can gauge student progress from fall to spring. A data indicator related to attendance or graduation may be used to assess preparing students to be on-track for success.

Evaluation of the selected data indicators determine an overall alternate rating score of either Satisfactory Progress or Needs Improvement.

TLA's Report Card Alternate Accountability Rating

TLA utilized data associated with Wisconsin Student Assessment System test results (Forward exam, ACT Aspire) as an indicator of scholar achievement in reading and mathematics for 6-9th grade scholars. TLA also used NWEA MAP data from fall to spring as an indicator of meeting scholar growth goals. For example:

Attendance data was the indicator used to assess preparing students to be on-track for success. The TLA scholar attendance average was 94.2% for the 2021-22

school year.

TLA’s overall Alternate Accountability Rating for 2021-2022 was determined to be Satisfactory Progress.

A Few Notes About the Data

Special Education and English Learner counts were measured as a point-in-time in the fall. At year-end, those figures were 11% Special Education and 15% English Learner. This year, fall 2022, they are 12% and 23% respectively.

We are particularly pleased with progress with respect to our K5-2 and 6-9 NWEA MAP results. Our goal was to achieve class growth targets of at least 110% and ensure at least 50% of scholars met their individual growth goals. TLA results from fall to spring indicated 146% class growth in math and 116% class growth in reading. Additionally, 73% of scholars met their individual math goals and 58% of scholars met their individual reading goals.

Moving Forward

While NWEA MAP and Forward data showed progress, in reviewing Forward exam data, we recognize our scholars still have room for growth. There is significant work ahead, however, when comparing these scores to local districts and the state, TLA is showing great promise.

As we move into the second quarter of this school year focused on new learning and growth, I remain committed to ensuring the TLA scholar-body continues to be a reflection of the Beloit community and that scholars are achieving at grade-level within three years of enrollment.

I stand firm in holding us accountable to those commitments and will continue to work hard to communicate about the work our scholars, families and staff are undertaking in our school community to achieve these goals.

Dr. Kristi Cole is the Chief Education Officer at The Lincoln Academy in Beloit, Wisconsin.



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