The Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts test results for November 2007 have been released (this lag of over six months make the results nearly worthless as a formative assessment for timely targeting at the school, class or individual level). I’ll have more to say about Madison’s results in the coming week or weeks (see here for the District analysis, here for the Cap Times story, and here for the Wisconsin State Journal’s).
Right now I just want to brag on my son’s school, James C. Wright Middle School.
In almost every category and on almost every test, Wright Students scored very well. For me most importantly, with very few exceptions the economically disadvantaged and English Language Learner students out performed their peers in Madison and in Wisconsin. This is a school with an 85%+ poverty rate, 90% minority population, beating the odds and achieving success for (almost) all.
Here is the chart for reading by economic status.
And reading by English Proficiency (something strange with the terminology when 63% of students labeled Limited English Proficient score advanced or proficient in reading).
The obvious question is “what is Wright doing right?” My answer is many things, most of which would not turn up in a Value Added Analysis and if they did would be difficult to reproduce. Chief among these are Leadership, staff and community. Principal Nancy Evans does a great job (as recognized by Wisconsin Urban Schools Leadership Project). The staff works hard and smart and works together (the last is partially a product of leadership). There is a school community and it is a community school; The staff, parents, students and much of the central Southside have a sense of ownership with Wright (this is in part a product of history, but it is a legacy that has been nurtured).
Other factors that may be reproducible are that Wright is a small school and it has the least ability grouping or tracking of any of the middle schools in Madison.
It is also a charter school, but as anyone familiar with Wright knows, it really functions more as a magnet/specialty school.
Congratulations to the Wright community for job well done (not mission accomplished, the work goes on). Panther Pride!
(Note that to access fuller data go to the WINSS site. Because of the way the site handles cookies, linking is difficult).
Thomas J. Mertz