Menomonee Falls - The Menomonee Falls School District scored above the state average in all categories and grade levels for the fall 2011 Wisconsin Knowledge and Concept Exam.
The WKCE tests students in grades three, five, six and seven in reading and mathematics and tests students in grades four, eight and 10 in reading, math, science, language arts, writing and social studies. All students enrolled in Wisconsin public schools take the exam during the fall of each school year.
Menomonee Falls Superintendent Pat Greco said WKCE is not a tool used to evaluate students on an individual basis, however, it does help the district gauge how its programs are working.
Comparatively to other schools in Waukesha County, middle school students primarily in fifth, sixth and seventh grades, fared better than other districts. Seventh-grade reading was the fourth highest out of 17 schools in the county. Greco attributes this to the literacy program that begins in the elementary schools. The reading program she said, is "probably one of our strongest features."
"We're the reading recovery hub for the area and that's paid significant dividends," Greco said.
The district's literacy program continues a strong trend, she said. Seventh-grade students in the district scored a 97, compared with the state's 86 average.
The number of students testing proficient in reading is the highest it's been since 2008 at 35 percent. Students reading at a minimum performance level have also fallen to 2.1 percent, after reaching a high in 2008 at 7.2 percent. The results indicate, Greco said, that the literacy program in the elementary schools continues to progress in a positive direction.
On the opposite end, fourth grade tied with three schools for the 12th lowest math level in the Waukesha County and tied 10th in reading.
Although that grade level is above the state standard, scoring 92 in both math and reading with a state average of 80 and 81 in math and science respectively, fourth grade tested average compared with 47 schools tested in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties. Menomonee Falls fourth grade was 20th in math and 24th in reading.
Closing achievement gaps
Greco said despite the comparison, the children are making improvements, which is shown in the year-by-year data.
"Obviously, we may have a group coming in that's really struggling, so our goal is to move them forward and our data is showing that we're moving to close the gaps really well," Greco said. "We are very pleased with this year's results. We're positioned well to continue to make improvements."
The science program has also been a focus in recent years for the district, and Greco said the results show improvement in that area. The test results show that 35.3 percent of the 372 students tested in science were proficient in the subject, while 46.3 were advanced.
There were 9.6 percent of the students who tested at a minimum performance and 8 percent were at the basic level, according to the 2011 results posted on the Wisconsin Information Network for Successful Students.
In the elementary level, classes switched to the Full Option Science System curriculum. The district also increased the level of technical reading to boost the learning level for students in that subject area.
Greco said the district is also working to switch to the common core, which will impact the math curriculum. However, these improvements are more related to the switch to the nationally adopted curriculum, than the WKCE data.
In math, the overall students in the district tested at a 50 percent proficiency level. The students testing at a minimum performance dropped to its lowest in the last five years and sits at 3.5 percent. In 2007, 8.4 percent of tested students performed at a minimum level.
"We're pleased and we're in a great position for the next step," Greco said.
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