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Converting WKCE Cut Scores to NAEP

Measuring Student Achievement on State Tests

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) in an effort to ensure Wisconsin students are college or career-ready, are holding students to a higher level of performance on state tests. Beginning in 2012-13, fewer students will attain a ranking of proficient or advanced on state tests than in the past. Each year, Wisconsin public school students in grades 3 to 8 and 10 take theWisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examinations (WKCE) in reading and mathematics. This year, the WKCE tests will be scored using tougher benchmarks. These new benchmarks are based on those used by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The NAEP is sometimes called “the Nation’s Report Card” because it is the only measure of student achievement in the United States that allows the comparison of student performance across states. Overall, Wisconsin students outperform the national average on NAEP.

This step is part of the State's transition to the next generation of student assessments intended to help parents and teachers get a more complete picture of each student’s learning more quickly. Wisconsin will continue to use the WKCE tests for two more years. In 2014-15, we will switch to the Smarter Balanced assessment system which features more rigorous content and standards. This will replace the reading, language arts, and mathematics portions of the WKCE tests.

The lower state test results expected this year are not a reflection of the abilities of students or teachers, but reflect the higher expectations being placed on students and schools. All students and schools across the state will be measured in this manner, not just schools in the Arrowhead School District. 

The following is a diagram to display the changes from the WKCE scores for advanced and proficient to the NAEP scores that will qualify as advanced or proficient:  
The stars in each diagram represent the same student scores on the State Exam (WKCE).  The ones on the left are scores using the WKCE measures with the cut line indicating the scores above the  line are advanced and proficient.  The diagram on the left represent the identical scores but the cut line for being advanced and proficient, using the NAEP measures, is much higher resulting in less student scores meeting the standard to be proficient/advanced.  The change is in how students are measured and does not reflect a change in students academic achievement.