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Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


According to the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress report card, 67.4% of fourth grade students in Wisconsin failed to test at proficient or above in reading. Similarly, about 67.6% of eighth grade students were not proficient or above in reading. 

The 2022 reading levels were the lowest recorded since 1998, although there were inconsistencies with data reporting standards in the early 2000s. Wisconsin also performed poorly in racial education gaps, having the widest disparity in scores between Black and white students in the nation. 

Nevertheless, Wisconsin eighth graders were three points higher than the national average and close to the national average for fourth graders in reading. 

The Wisconsin Forward exam produced similar results, with approximately 67% of eighth graders and 58% of fourth graders failing to score proficient or advanced in English Language Arts.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


The Nation’s Report Card Wisconsin profile

Wisconsin Public Radio Wisconsin has widest gap in the US for math, reading scores among white and Black students

Wisconsin Department Of Public Instruction Wisconsin Forward Exam Technical Report

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Erin Gretzinger / Wisconsin WatchReporting Intern

Erin Gretzinger joined Wisconsin Watch as a reporting intern in May 2022. She is a journalism and French major at UW-Madison and will graduate in spring 2023. Erin previously worked for the Wisconsin State Journal as a reporting intern and served as the 2021-22 editor-in-chief at The Badger Herald. She is a recipient of the Jon Wolman Scholarship, the Sigrid Schultz Scholarship and the Joseph Sicherman Award Fund for her academic and reporting work.