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Hudson schools get passing grades on new state report card

Along with other states across the country, Wisconsin requested and got a waiver of the sometimes controversial federal government's No Child Left Behind annual assessment. In its place, the state developed a new school report card that looks at student achievement in a very different way.

For the 2011-12 school year, using last year's WKCE (Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination) test scores in math and reading along with scores from the Wisconsin Alternate Assessment for Students with Disabilities, all Hudson schools scored in the "green zone," meeting or exceeding expectations. A portion of the report card for Rock Elementary which shows that the students there "exceeded expectations" accompanies this story. Other Hudson schools scored as follows:

  • North Hudson Elementary scored 83.5 and significantly exceeded expectations.
  • Houlton Elementary scored 83.7 and exceeded expectations.
  • Hudson Prairie scored 78.7 and significantly exceeded expectations
  • River Crest Elementary scored 77.7 and exceeded expectations.
  • Willow River Elementary scored 78.3 and exceeded expectations.
  • Hudson Middle School scored 72.3 and met expectations.
  • Hudson High School scored 69.2 and met expectations.

    According to Sandi Kovatch, Director of Learning services, and associate director Dave Grambow, the new system is an improvement over the NCLB assessment because it does not lump all students into a single category and does not have the requirement that all students score at a proficient or above level by 2012 or face punitive measures.

    The new system takes into account a variety of factors that the state believes affect student learning and achievement including cognitive disabilities, English as a second language, minority status and socio-economic factors. Under NCLB, all students were lumped into a single category with their achievements measured without regard to any of these factors.

    The new report card includes several other measures along with student achievement score including:

  • Student growth, how much student knowledge in reading and math changes from year to year.
  • Closing gaps, how the performance of separate student groups experiencing gaps in achievement is improving.
  • On-track and postsecondary readiness, student success in achieving educational milestones like graduation, ACT participation and third- and eighth-grade reading and math scores that predict postsecondary success.
  • Student engagement including test participation rates, student absentee rates and dropout rates for students grades 7-12 who leave school. Schools can have points deducted from their overall scores if they do not meet state guidelines.

    Kovatch said previously the schools were scored on a percentage of students who met the NCLB guidelines. "The new score is based on a points system that in some cases looks very different than what people are used to seeing. There is a lot more information about student learning included in this new score. "

    Kovatch and Grambow also noted that the new point scores reflect achievement expectations based on national and international standards, not just state standards. "The scores are set to a higher bar," said Kovatch. "It is kind of like our students competing at a state track meet or at the Olympics. Our students aren't necessarily going slower but the competition has become more rigorous and our results won't seem as strong."

    While this report card and next year's will be based on WKCE test scores, the state will roll out a new "smarter and more balanced assessment" based on the new guidelines. The test is expected to be more computer-based with fewer multiple choice questions and more short answer and interactive questions.

    Kovatch stressed that parents should remember that achievement tests are only one piece of information used to measure a their student's success in school or the success of their school.

    "This shouldn't be the totality of what you value in your school. Put these scores in context and where Hudson falls within Wisconsin."

    The Hudson schools report cards can be found through a link at the district's website at or on the Department of Public Instruction site at

    Kovatch can be contacted at (715) 377-3705.

  • Meg Heaton

    Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

    (715) 808-8604