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

March 25, 2017

Private schools participating in Wisconsin’s school choice programs outperform the state’s public schools, a new study has found.

“Private schools in the choice programs and public charter schools in Milwaukee and Wisconsin perform significantly better on the ACT and Forward Exams [Wisconsin’s state assessment] than traditional public schools when a proper apples-to-apples comparison is made,” the Wisconsin Institutes for Law and Liberty’s (WILL) study, “Apples to Apples: The Definitive Look at School Test Scores in Milwaukee and Wisconsin,” found. “This means, when things like poverty, race, and English language learners are taken into account and properly controlled for, we are finding that student outcomes on test scores are simply better in the private and charter sector as opposed to traditional public schools.

“Private schools in the MPCP significantly outperform traditional Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS),” the study states. “On the Forward Exam, students in the MPCP were approximately 5 percent more likely to be proficient in English/Language Arts and about 4 percent more likely to be proficient in Math. On the ACT, students in the MPCP score, on average, 2.8 points higher than students in traditional public schools.”

Charter schools also have higher proficiency rates than MPS, the study reported. 

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