School Quality in Public and Private Schools in Wisconsin

Public schools: As part of the Value-Added Research Center's (VARC) work with the Walton Family Foundation, we are working with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and the Cooperative Educational Services Agency (CESA) #2 to develop a production statewide value-added system for the state of Wisconsin.

The state system is designed as 'opt-in' only, with valued-added reports being generated only for districts wishing to participate. VARC and DPI have in place a fully executed data release agreement for the sharing of Wisconsin Knowledge Concepts Examination (WCKE), Individual Student Enrollment (ISES) and Wisconsin Student Locator System (WSLS) data for the years 2005-06 through 2013-14. VARC will use this data to construct statewide value-added system for the agreed upon years.

CESA #2, in conjunction with other CESA partners, is recruiting participating districts by offering a series of professional development sessions to train districts in the interpretation and use of value-added reports. VARC is producing value-added reports, first in paper format and later via a new online reporting tool, for participating districts; and the CESA partners with assistance from VARC staff are providing professional development to the participating districts to ensure the value-added reports are properly interpreted and utilized to their fullest.

Private schools: Private schools are an important part of the Wisconsin landscape. A growing number of students in the Milwaukee Public Schools attendance area are attending private schools, many of them through the voucher program (20,000+). While public schools are experiencing declining enrollment, many private schools are growing. Leaving private schools out of the project would result in an unbalanced understanding of what is working in education in the Milwaukee area.

The goal of the project is, for the first time, to be able to compare all Milwaukee area schools, public and private, urban and suburban, large and small, in a fair and accurate way. The project will proceed first with a pilot year with VARC working with an initial group of private schools and then expand each year to include increasing numbers of private schools in the Milwaukee and beyond.


Walton Family Foundation


Completed on October 31, 2012

Contact Information

Ernie Morgan