GREEN BAY - Test scores in Wisconsin are up. The state Department of Public Instruction says all students, including minority groups, made gains over the past five years with standardized tests. The biggest increase came in math scores.
Julie Seefeldt is the English Language Learning, or ELL, director for the Green Bay Area School District.
"About 20 percent of our school district in Green Bay is Hispanic," said Seefeldt.
Seefeldt says the amount of minorities in the area isn't just increasing in number. They're increasing test scores.
For instance you can see a 4.2 percent increase for Hispanics, versus 3.9 percent increase in proficiency for white students in math over the past five years.
However only 28 percent of Hispanic students are proficient. 55 percent of white students made that mark.
In reading, scores drop dramatically. Hispanic students scored only 17 percent proficient statewide compared to 42 percent of white students.
But administrators say math tests are available in Spanish. Reading tests are only in English.
"So, there's a difference when you can use your first language and when you're tested in English. So that's why we're seeing bigger gains in math," said Seefeldt.
The Green Bay Area Public School District says it's still analyzing the local test scores for this school year. More students were widely tested this time.
"We have just over 4,000 ELL students in the district and we tested all students in the district even those who were not English proficient, as well as additional special ed students," said Mary Whitrock, the chief academic officer for the Green Bay Area Public School District.
Administrators say testing students who usually weren't tested before may have lowered local test scores down. They say it contributes to the failing rating several schools received on the new state report card system.
"Because of the change in our test participation and the way we are moving forward this year, we really have a new base line because of the additional students participating," said Whitrock.
As the ways students are tested continue to change, administrators say numbers from standardized tests may not be a total guide of student progress.
The Green Bay school district says it is analyzing this year's scores by demographics. Administrators say they'll go public with the findings after they've told the school board first.
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