About Wisconsin Accountability

In the past Wisconsin’s accountability system under the ESEA, No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), requires the annual review of district and school performance to determine “Adequate Yearly Progress” (AYP). Since 2003 AYP in Wisconsin has been based on four objectives: test participation, graduation rate or attendance rate, and achieving a designated proficiency rate on two academic indicators - Reading and Mathematics.

Now the U.S. Department of Education (USED) has offered states the opportunity to apply for flexibility on certain provisions of the federal ESEA NCLB Act. DPI is working with the USED to finalize the details of a new system to replace the current NCLB system as part of the ESEA waiver process, and anticipate approval in the near future.

Pending approval by the USED, DPI will be phasing in aspects of the new system over the coming months. As a result, there will be no AYP determination for 2011-12 as we transition to the new accountability system.

Accountability News!

Wisconsin’s new accountability system will include all schools receiving public school funds. This includes Title I schools, non-Title I schools; district, non-district, and non-instrumentality charter schools; and private schools participating in the state Parental Choice Programs. DPI is working with the US Department of Education to finalize the details of the new system to replace the current NCLB system as part of the ESEA waiver process, and anticipate approval in the near future.

Beginning in 2011-12, a comprehensive accountability index will replace the current ESEA Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) system. The index approach uses multiple measures and classifies schools along a continuum of performance. Schools and districts will be held accountable for outcomes in four priority areas that comprise sub‐scales of the index:

  • Student achievement
  • Student growth
  • Closing Achievement Gaps
  • On-track to graduation and postsecondary readiness


Index scores will be provided for each of the four sub‐scale areas. In addition to the index scores, schools and districts will be held accountable for three specific performance expectations, identified as potential Red Flags associated with index scores, which are Test Participation, Dropout Rates, and Absenteeism.

Accountability index scores and Red Flags will place schools and districts into one of six categories along the performance continuum:

  • Significantly Exceeding Expectations
  • Exceeding Expectations
  • Meeting Expectations
  • Meeting Some Expectations
  • Meeting Few Expectations
  • Persistently Failing to Meet Expectations


The State will require interventions in Title I schools that demonstrate the lowest performance in the state (Priority Schools) and in schools with the largest subgroup achievement gaps in reading, mathematics, or graduation rate, or in which certain subgroups are the lowest performing in the state (Focus Schools).


There is more information available about Accountability Reform in Wisconsin.