This past Sunday, August 11, 2013, an article in the Janesville Gazette discussed an inquiry that the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) had made concerning an “above average” number of student erasures on the most recent Wisconsin Knowledge and Concept Exam (WKCE) administered last Fall 2012. The inquiry was based on erasure marks from Franklin Middle School. We are highlighting key discussion points shared with the Gazette and Channel 3 News concerning this inquiry.
- Franklin Middle School was one of 29 schools out of more than 2000 schools in Wisconsin that were flagged for high numbers of erasures. Analyses have revealed that the inquiry was based on the erasure marks of eight students out of 575 students tested last year at Franklin.
- An analysis of the proficiency scores (of the eight students identified for above average erasures) indicates no significant change in how they performed in current/previous WKCE tests or other district assessments. The same is true for Franklin; there was no “spike” in the proficiency building score.
- The written response (regarding erasure marks) submitted to the DPI by Franklin Principal Dr. Urness was accepted by the Office of Educational Accountability. State officials are satisfied with the response and have no other requests for clarification or additional information. The WKCE administered this coming fall (2013) will be the last state paper and pencil assessment. The state is moving to the new online Smarter Balance Assessment.
- Ironically, the school district has previously received notice that students had not been erasing properly. Therefore, the scanner that corrected the test booklets could not determine which answer had been erased. Consequently, the scanner would pick up two responses and count the item wrong, thereby hurting the student’s score on the test. As a result, the district has stressed the importance of students taking care to erase properly.
- The district has determined (at this time) that no changes are advised for WKCE preparation with students and staff. The district’s position is to continue to emphasize that students take all assessments seriously, work slowly and carefully, go back and check their work, and make corrections as necessary.
The School District of Janesville continues to affirm this year’s WKCE student achievement results and looks forward to the upcoming state School Report Card results to be published early next month.