The School District of Janesville began redesigning high school curriculum during the 2012 – 2013 school year in response to lackluster student achievement results on the ACT and advanced placement (AP) test results. The effort known as Project Redesign is ongoing, and is a complete four-year overhaul of the curriculum, beginning with 9th grade and rolling up to subsequent grades. This effort has the ultimate goal of aligning curriculum with the Common Core State Standards and the ACT College and Career Readiness Standards*. “The School District of Janesville cannot settle for being average,” stated Superintendent Karen Schulte, “we must do better for our children and we will.”
To increase the College and Career Readiness of our students, the School District of Janesville has begun annually monitoring our students' growth with the ACT’s Educational Planning and Assessment System (EPAS) from 7th through 10th grade. Additionally, all 11th grade students participated in a practice ACT in the spring of 2013. As part of Project Redesign, these results, along with our annual ACT data, are being used to identify students' learning needs and align the curriculum with the College and Career Readiness and Common Core State Standards. This system will also help schools monitor student progress toward the desired outcome of College and Career Readiness, as well as improved ACT scores.
The success of the redesign efforts will be measured throughout the next four years; beginning with AP testing, ACT testing, Wisconsin Knowledge Concepts Exam (WKCE) and performance on local assessment results, as well as the increased ability of Janesville graduates to find success after high school. Optimum results would demonstrate a slow and steady upward trend throughout the next four years. Full implementation (grades 9 – 12) of Project Redesign will take place during the 2015 – 2016 school year. The 2016 Parker and Craig graduates will be the first to have benefited from the full implementation (4 years) of Project Redesign.
To help facilitate the rigor of the math curriculum at the high schools, 8th grade students in the School District of Janesville will be enrolled in algebra starting with the 2014 – 2015 school year. Currently, algebra is typically a 9th grade course. ACT trend data indicates the average math score on the ACT increases by two points when students take Algebra in 8th grade.
The School District of Janesville’s performance on ACT testing has been relatively flat in recent years and 2013 ACT results confirm that same trend, although a slight increase was noted. Current ACT test scores for the School District of Janesville continue to hover around the state average.
District Wide Results:
ACT scores increased from 21.4 (2012) to 21.5 (2013). District scores this year trail the state composite score by .6 compared with .7 in 2012. The state composite ACT score was unchanged from 2012. The scores that were just released are reflective of the 2013 graduating class, which means the majority of students took the ACT in the spring of 2012 in the 11th grade.
Craig High School Results:
Scores declined from 22.1 to 21.9 (-.2 or 1% decrease) at CHS. The composite score at Craig trailed below the state by 0.2.
Parker High School Results:
At Parker High School, scores improved from 20.6 to 20.9 (+.3 or 1.5% increase) points from the previous year. Parker trails the state by 1.2.
At Craig High School, 77% of the 2013 graduates participated in the ACT; this is an increase from 71% in 2012. At Parker High School participation decreased from 68% to 62% from 2012 to 2013 respectively.
Early indicators of improvement include the U.S. News and World Report designation (both high schools were silver medalists) that documented increased achievement for African-American students at both High Schools. These results are hopeful markers that improvement efforts at our high schools are turning the tide. The ultimate goal is that students at both high schools reach and then exceed the ACT state average. Wisconsin consistently performs in the top tier of states involved in the ACT. The School District of Janesville is very excited about the upcoming changes at the high school level.
The School District of Janesville is committed to our students being prepared as world-class learners with strong academic skills, a sense of self and readiness to become a contributing member of society.
* The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. The ACT College and Career Readiness Standards measure students' progressive development of knowledge and skills in the same academic areas from grades 8 through 12.