Thursday, July 28, 2016

Achievement gap remains, but Madison schools are making huge gains

Student test scores across all demographics are on the rise

I’m optimistic about the direction the Madison Metropolitan School District is taking.

The achievement gap remains. There is still a vast difference between how well white students are doing versus students of color, with the latter falling well-behind the former. Much more work needs to be done.

Yet the latest report from MMSD signals that positive changes are happening, with academic achievement rates across all demographics going up from the previous year.

Black students reached a 64 percent reading proficiency, a vast improvement from the previous year’s numbers of 52 percent. In Hispanic students, the reading proficiency numbers were 73 percent, up ten percentage points from the previous academic year.

Things improved in part because the school district focused on family-centric engagement philosophies.

“This year, schools deepened their focus on instructional strategies to accelerate student performance, explored new ways to improve family engagement and built stronger professional learning plans for staff,” the report read.

And to follow it up, the school district plans to “expand intensive support at the district’s highest-need schools and provide additional opportunities for schools to collaborate with each other,” while also focusing on “improving parent partnership that is linked to learning” across the district.

These measures appear to be working. There is still more that can be done. But with more resources at their disposal, the Madison Metropolitan School District appears to be moving things in the right direction. And if successful, the strategies employed in Madison be utilized across the state.

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