How Ready Are Our Students?

Superintendent Wayne Weber

It’s that time of the year again where schools across Wisconsin are anxiously awaiting the release of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Accountability Report Cards for schools and districts. These report cards use a rather complex system to give an overall impression of school and district performance from the preceding school year. The DPI report card support material states, “Our goal is for every student in Wisconsin to graduate, and to be ready to pursue further education and a career. The report cards are designed to inform parents and the community, and to drive discussion about our children’s learning.” That’s a great goal that I believe we can all get behind! Furthermore, who could argue against the concept of parents, communities and educators getting together to discuss our children’s learning?

Unfortunately, so much weight is put on these report card results by various groups with varying agendas. These report cards rely heavily on standardized test results, graduation rates, and attendance. These are important pieces to the overall success of students and schools, but they are just pieces to a much larger picture. We are fortunate that the Rosendale-Brandon School District has achieved very, very good results on our recent report cards. I have no doubt that this year’s report cards will be favorable as well, but I also know that there is much more to measuring the success of our students and schools than what comes on the state report card. That’s why we, as a district, are embarking on a journey to show a more well-rounded picture of our student performance.

I think we can all agree that outside of our K12 classrooms, standardized tests are not going to be used to determine an individual’s success. Schools teach and students learn in a variety of ways, and we should have a variety of means of reporting school and student outcomes. That’s what we are moving towards. Through a national initiative called Redefining Ready! we will be using a number of indicators that more accurately portray today’s educational and work environment. These metrics include College Ready, Career Ready, and Life Ready Indicators. Measurements such as success in Advanced Placement courses, high school math performance, early college credits, industry credentials, community service, and co-curricular participation among others will be used.

The success of our students should be measured by much more than one score, and the same should be said about our schools. You’ll hear more about this initiative in the coming months. In the meantime, if you want to learn more, visit www.RedefiningReady.org. As always, I am interested in your input and welcome your questions. Feel free to contact me at webeway@rbsd.k12.wi.us or 920-872-2851.