Stoughton students are generally doing better than their counterparts in public schools across the state in mandated annual testing.

According to results from testing last year’s classes for the state’s Forward Exam, Stoughton Area School District students fared better in most grades and courses tested. District third-graders fell just short of the state averages in English/language arts and math, as did fifth-graders in math, while all other grades 3-8 tested above state averages.

The state also tracks the percentages of students who rate in the top two of four grading categories – advanced and proficient, and SASD students scored higher than the state average in English/language arts (45.3 to 41.4), math (43.8 to 42.1) and science (59.4 to 43.3).

Statewide, results held steady on Wisconsin Student Assessment System exams given last school year, with some “promising gains in mathematics achievement across most grade levels,” according to a Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction news release Oct. 2. The exams comprise the Forward Exam given in grades 3-8, ACT Plus Writing given at grade 11 and Dynamic Learning Maps given to students with significant cognitive disabilities.

Overall, 455,291 public and private choice school students took WSAS exams in 2017-18, an increase of 2,265 students from the prior year. Their results are a “foundational component” of school and district report cards that will be issued later this year,” according to the news release.

Overall, 42.4 percent of public school students scored proficient or advanced in ELA, 43.8 percent in mathematics and 49.9 percent in science.

Achievement gaps remain

Statewide data disaggregated by racial and ethnic groups, English proficiency, as well as disability and economic status, showed achievement gaps for both public and private choice schools. Wisconsin’s plan to meet requirements of federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, includes a goal of cutting achievement gaps in half over the next six years. According to the news release, to help meet this goal, the DPI 2019‑21 state budget proposal includes “targeted provisions to lift student achievement.”

Email Unified Newspaper Group reporter Scott De Laruelle at

Forward Exam - 2017-18 State/SASD rating percentages

English/LA Math Science
Advanced 8.6/9.1 9/8.1 15.6/20.1
Proficient 33.8/36.2 34.8/35.7 34.2/39.2
Basic 34.5/34.2 31.8/34 332/27
Below basic 21.7/18.7 23.1/20.4 15.3/11.5

Forward Exam - 2017-18 State/SASD average scores

English/LA Math Science (fourth, eighth-grades)
3 557.9/555.5 557.1/556
4 582.2/588.9 578.2/583.6 400.3/412.8
5 601.9/611.9 600.3/602.5
6 610.7/611 613.3/608.9
7 628.2/631.9 624.1/626.1
8 631.7/637.9 645.3/652.8 596.5/602.7