December 16, 2015

How to investigate achievement gaps in your local schools

The first step is to gather the data. This is a key tool in understanding how well students, schools, districts and policies are working.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction provides an online database called WISEdash, the “front door” to discovering information about your school and district, from test scores to enrollment information and graduation rates.

Otherwise known as the Wisconsin Information System for Education Data Dashboard, the database uses filtering functions to break down information by gender, race and ethnicity, economic status, and English Language Learner and migrant status. All data can be downloaded to Microsoft Excel and PDF files for further analysis.

Once you know the facts about your school and district, take the time to compare the information to similar districts across the state. For more information, see DPI’s helpful guides and frequently asked questions about navigating WISEdash.

Then, talk to those in your school and district community about achievement gaps. Finding out how students, teachers, principals and district officials view achievement gaps will shed light on existing problems and inform future solutions.