Tests Show Around 60% of Wisconsin Students Aren’t Proficient In Math, English

After several years of modest increases, Wisconsin students’ math scores declined during the 2018-19 school year, according to the latest data from state education officials. Proficiency in English was also down slightly.

The state Department of Public Instruction released the latest scores for the Wisconsin Student Assessment System on Thursday. The report includes test results from the Forward Exam, taken by students in third through eighth grade, and the ACT, a national college admission test taken by 11th-graders.

Overall, student scores in math decreased slightly during the 2018-19 school year. The decline comes after three years of modest increases in math scores: 40.1 percent of all students were proficient or advanced in math in testing this spring.

Overall performance in English also declined in the latest report, going from 40.6 percent of students scoring proficient or advanced in 2017-18 school year to 39.3 percent last year.

Elizabeth Tomev, education information services director for DPI, said part of the declining scores comes from challenges with funding. She said students are entering the classroom with more challenges than ever before.

“We have to make sure that we have the funding to make sure that we meet all of the needs of the students when they need it,” Tomev said. “And that includes helping with effective instruction, making sure children are feeling safe and supported, making sure they have the mental health supports that are necessary, any of that.”

She said increased funding for K-12 schools in the latest state budget is “an important down payment” on the investment need in public education.