Unintentional error causes Westfield District to slip on annual report cards

By Keri Solis
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction recently released its preliminary district and school report cards. The report cards use multiple measures of student achievement and engagement to describe performance, placing them in categories of Fails to Meet, Meets Few, Meets, Exceeds, or Significantly Exceeds Expectations for those measures.

Districts and schools are evaluated on four priority areas: Student achievement in reading and math on statewide assessments; Student growth in those assessed areas; Closing gaps for reading and math achievement and graduation, based on student subgroups; and Postsecondary readiness, which uses several measures as predictors of college and career readiness.

The news for the Westfield District as a whole was that it fell into the Meets Expectations category for the 2013-14 year, with a score of 66.0. All individual elementary schools were also in the Meets Expectations category. Oxford Elementary just missed moving up to the next level with a score of 70.4. Coloma Elementary scored 65.4. Westfield Elementary scored 67.3, while the Middle School was at 68.5. The high school came in at 59.6, which falls at the top of the Meets Few Expectations category. This was the result of a 5-point deduction based on a series of incidents going back four years. Without the deduction, the district would have scored a 64.6 that would have put them in the Meets Expectations Category.

The deduction came in the category of “Test Participation.” Every school must have at least 95% test participation on the WKCE exams. Although 100% of students participated in the exam, an unintentional error meant the district had to invalidate 24 students’ WKCE Math exams, which meant the district did not technically have the required 95% participation.

During the November 213 WKCE testing, Principal Moody was notified by a guidance counselor that a student reported that his math class had allegedly worked on WKCE practice questions that were the exact same as the ones on the test he had just taken. The DPI was contacted immediately about the allegations and that the school would be conducting an investigation.

Mr. Moody interviewed the teacher that had given the practice test to the students and obtained the teacher’s practice test files. Inside the file were a large number of test preparation materials that the teacher would photocopy and use with the students. The practice questions that aligned with the actual test questions were found in this file. The practice questions were from the 2009 WKCE Math test that had been copied by a former employee and placed in the filing cabinet in the classroom prior to the current teacher being hired.

Mr. Moody and District Administrator John Eyerly then called DPI to explain what the former teacher had done and that the current teacher did not know that the questions had been copied from an actual 2009 test booklet. The teacher also had no way of knowing that the state would use those same questions on the 2013 test.

The School District of Westfield was then notified by DPI that the students that had taken the practice questions must have their WKCE Math tests invalidated, even though the error was unintentional and that the booklet had been copied by a former staff member four years earlier.  The DPI also recognized the error was unintentional and that the district acted with integrity by immediately self-reporting and conducting a thorough investigation.

 The accountability ratings range as follows: Significantly Exceeds Expectations: 83-100; Exceeds Expectations: 73-82.9; Meets Expectations: 63-72.9; Meets Few Expectations: 53-62.9; Fails to Meet Expectations: 0-52.9.

While disappointed in their score due to the deduction, and knowing that they still have work to do to raise scores overall, the school is proud of their accomplishments. First, they had the highest Advanced Placement scores in school history, followed by the highest ACT scores in school history. They were at or above state average in every category. This was a district goal set two years ago that has now been achieved. They are also proud to be named the 20th Best High School in Wisconsin by US News and World Report for 2014.

Detailed district and school report cards for all of Wisconsin can be viewed at http://reportcards.dip.wi.gov/ by clicking on the button for “District and School Report Cards.”

* Scores are on a scale of 0-100
Priority Areas Westfield State
District Score
Student Achievement 58.5 66.4
Student Growth 59.6 62.4
Closing Gaps 61.4 66.3
On-Track &
Postsecond. Readiness 84.5 85.3
Overall 66.0

Priority Areas Westfield State
High Score
Student Achievement 54.6 69.1
Student Growth N/A N/A
Closing Gaps 62.5 67.5
On-Track &
Postsecond. Readiness 82.6 83.5
Overall 59.6

Priority Areas Westfield State
Mid Score
Student Achievement 58.8 67.3
Student Growth 54.2 55.7
Closing Gaps 73.7 66.5
On-Track &
Postsecond. Readiness 87.2 89.3
Overall 68.5

Priority Areas Oxford State
Elementary Score
Student Achievement 55.8 66.8
Student Growth 67.5 67.8
Closing Gaps 73.5 66.9
On-Track &
Postsecond. Readiness 84.6 86.9
Overall 70.4

Priority Areas Coloma State
Elementary Score
Student Achievement 65.6 66.8
Student Growth 62.8 67.8
Closing Gaps 44.7 66.9
On-Track &
Postsecond. Readiness 88.6 86.9
Overall 72.4

Priority Areas Westfield State
Elementary Score
Student Achievement 58.1 66.8
Student Growth 64.6 67.8
Closing Gaps 61.7 66.9
On-Track &
Postsecond. Readiness 84.6 86.9
Overall 67.3