Wisconsin: A Parent’s Guide to Standards and Assessment
Academic Standards, Curriculum and Assessment
Parents of school-age children find that some things have remained the same since they went to school and that some things have changed. In the last 20 years, schools have experienced many changes in “academic standards,” “curriculum,” and “assessment.” What exactly do these terms mean? How are they connected? How can parents help children do well in school? In this brochure, the term “parent” also refers to the child’s primary caregiver(s), such as grandparents or other adults who have primary responsibility for the child.
What Are Wisconsin Academic Standards?
Academic standards specify what students should know and be able to do. Wisconsin has academic standards for 21 separate content areas, and adopted Common Core State Standards forEnglish language arts and mathematics in 2010. In addition, Wisconsin adopted Common Core State Standards for Literacy in All Subjects
What is the Curriculum?
The curricula used in your child’s classroom prepare your child to meet the standards. The standards define what children will learn at certain points in time and what performances are accepted as evidence that the child has learned. Parents can get more specific information about the connections among the academic standards, the curriculum, and the tests in their school district from their children’s teachers, the school principal, or the guidance counselor.
What is Assessment?
How is a Child’s Learning Progress Measured?
Schools use many ways to assess, or measure, the progress of students: homework completion, class projects, portfolios, unit tests, and student effort. Another way to measure student progress statewide is with state tests. In Wisconsin, the state Department of Public Instruction develops and administers statewide examinations to measure children’s learning in five subject areas:
1. reading 2. language arts 3. mathematics 4. science 5. social studies
The statewide tests that children take help improve teaching and learning. The tests are based on Wisconsin’s Model Academic Standards, and results are reported in terms of proficiency standards. For example, a fourth-grade student’s score on the statewide mathematics test will be reported in terms of the standards established for learning at fourth grade.
The DPI website at: http://www2.dpi.state.wi.us/wsas/default.asp reports summaries of proficiency scores for all public schools statewide. Schools are required to report test results to parents of students in fourth, eighth, and tenth grades. Children will take state tests, or tests developed by the school district, at school.
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