Student Proficiency

For all of the conversation around education, student proficiency and academic outcomes can often take a back seat. Worse, the conversation can be shrouded in myths and bad data.

WILL has authored the Apples to Apples report to provide true comparisons about academic achievement across school sectors. And WILL continues to make the case for policies that will place academic outcomes and student proficiency as a top priority.

Research and Analysis

Feds in the Classroom

Needs Improvement: How Wisconsin’s Report Card Can Mislead Parents

September 16, 2020 | Will Flanders

This policy brief explains how Wisconsin’s school report cards, issued by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), currently work and identify ways to improve the report card to better reflect school performance. Without Forward Exam scores for the most recent school year, the legislature has a unique opportunity to improve the state report card with minimal disruption.

Press Release | Report

Apples to Apples: The Definitive Look at School Test Scores in Milwaukee and Wisconsin for 2019

June 6, 2019 | Will Flanders

The 2019 Apples to Apples report finds, for a third year in a row, Wisconsin’s charter schools and private schools in the choice program are outperforming traditional public schools. These results, and many more, provide a clear, fair, and consistent look at Wisconsin’s schools, school sectors, and how they perform on a level playing field.

Press Release | Report

Roadmap to Student Achievement: Policies to improve student outcomes at Wisconsin K-12 schools

January 29, 2019 | CJ Szafir and Libby Sobic

WILL staff have spent more than two years conducting extensive interviews with school leaders, education advocates, and national think tanks in order to come up with serious policy recommendations on how to improve student achievement in Wisconsin. The “Roadmap to Student Achievement” is one of the most comprehensive reform agendas for Wisconsin that is publicly available.

Press Release | Report

Apples to Apples: The Definitive Look at School Test Scores in Milwaukee and Wisconsin for 2018

April 17, 2018 | Will Flanders

WILL released its second annual report comparing school academic performance across Wisconsin, Apples to Apples. In this new peer-reviewed study, control variables—such as student economic status and demographics—are included to level the playing field and make the clearest possible comparisons between schools for policymakers and parents.

Press Release | Report

Apples to Apples: The Definitive Look at School Test Scores in Milwaukee and Wisconsin 2017

March 1, 2017 | Will Flanders

This WILL study, for the first time using the most recent test score results, provides parents and policymakers with the clearest possible comparison of student outcomes in each school sector in Milwaukee – as well as in Wisconsin.

Press Release | Report

Apples-to-Oranges? When comparisons are made between MPCP and MPS schools

February 9, 2015 | CJ Szafir and Martin Lueken

Too often, the media and politicans average WKCE test scores according to each school sector, as if they are one homogenous unit. But, given the differences in private schools in the choice program and public charter schools – and the limitations of the WKCE testing, this is a flawed approach to comparing schools in Milwaukee. WILL’s newest policy brief (found here) shows a better way to form conclusions from the flawed WKCE data.

Press Release | Report

Media and Commentary

WILL Blog | New Study: Students in Milwaukee Choice Program More Likely to Graduate from Four-Year College

July 22, 2019 | Will Flanders

Washington Examiner | School choice works, but it could work better

April 18, 2018 | Will Flanders and Cori Petersen

Wisconsin State Journal | Study shows need to expand Wisconsin's choice program

March 24, 2017 | Will Flanders

National Review | New Evidence on School-Choice Successes in Wisconsin

March 8, 2017 | Will Flanders and Collin Roth

Wisconsin Public Radio | Study Shows Wisconsin Choice Schools Outperform Traditional Public Schools

March 2, 2017 | Avory Brookins