Walworth County schools pass report card test

      As the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released its school report cards in the past two weeks, Walworth County schools passed the test.

      The majority of the schools in the county either met or exceeded expectations, with a handful of schools hitting the “significantly exceeds expectations” criteria or just missing it. On the other side of the equation, few schools ranked as “meets few expectations” or “fails to meet expectations.”

      Overall, 84% of Wisconsin schools met or exceeded expectations, down from 87% a year ago.

      The report card process began in 2011-12 to give a state an indicator of how schools were progressing and an accountability tool, according to the state DPI site. The index approach uses multiple measures and classifies schools along a rating continuum.


      There were 2,104 report cards produced for public schools for 2021-22. Among public schools, 184 (9%) were unable to be scored and are rated using alternate accountability. Of the 1,920 scored school report cards, 1,619 met, exceeded, or significantly exceeded expectations (84%). Of the 1,883 schools with scored report cards in both 2021-22 and 2020-21, a total of 1,226 experienced no change from 2020-21, 231 moved up at least one rating category, and 426 moved down at least one category.

      The ratings determine the level of support a school receives, ranging from rewards and recognition for high performing schools to state intervention for the lowest performing schools in the state. Accountability scores, ratings, and a 5-star rating system (as of the 2015-16 report cards) are reported annually in the report cards.

      Schools are evaluated on achievement using the Wisconsin Forward Exam as well as Pre-ACT Secure in grades 9-10 and ACT scores in grade 11. It also evaluates growth, target group outcomes (meaning raising the lowest performers) and on track to graduation.

      A rating of 83-100 earns a “significantly exceeds expectations” rating, while a score of 70 to 82.9 is “exceeds expectations.” A rating of 58 to 69.9 “meets expectations,” while a score of 48 to 57.9 “meets few expectations.”

      A score of 0 to 47.9 earns a “fails to meet expectations” rating. No schools in Walworth County fell into that category. Some schools earn an alternate ranking of satisfactory or not satisfactory, depending on if they do not have all the data, do not test enough students or are a new school.

County schools

      Comparing district schools is not always apples to apples, however. Many school districts in the county have more than one than one district being evaluated, with some distinguishing between elementary and high school districts, or having multiple graded districts filtering into one high school or middle school district.

      Walworth County high schools saw Elkhorn Area rank the highest with a score of 80.5, one of two schools to exceed expectations. The other was East Troy High School with a 79.9 score. Big Foot High School just missed the “exceeds expectations” rating with a 68.8 score, while Whitewater (64.8), Delavan-Darien (58.3) and Badger (58.2) all met expectations.

      Of those high school catchment areas, though, many have a large variety of elementary, graded or middle schools that filter in – some with a wide variety of grades. Some use an elementary school format of grades K-5, others use K-8, and middle schools generally are grades 6-8.

      In addition, several districts now have alternative schools available, including virtual or charter options in Elkhorn and Lake Geneva, among others.

      For the middle schools, scores were generally at a wider range – and not necessarily matching what the high schools were coming in at. Lake Geneva came in at a 59.7 score, Delavan-Darien’s Phoenix Middle School at 69.0, Elkhorn at 60.6, Whitewater a 54.3 and East Troy at 50.5.

      The latter two were the only schools in the county to fall into the “meets few expectations” range among the middle and high schools.

      For full report cards from your district, go to apps2.dpi.wi.gov/reportcards.

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