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MTSD is NOT Failing Our Students

Milestone Data

MTSD has seven (7) milestones to measure post-secondary success. The first six (6) milestones and academic and one (1) milestone measures student engagement.

Per MTSD: “Our goal is that when students graduate from high school, they have the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in post-secondary education. Each milestone is rigorous, encouraging our students to develop higher-level thinking and problem-solving skills.”


Over the last several weeks, through three meetings totaling four hours, INFORM interviewed the Assistant Superintendent, who is responsible for curriculum and student outcomes. NO OTHER GROUP has taken the time to learn the facts before presenting results.

INFORM aggregated the data, developed accurate visual results and summarized the most important educational efforts to give our community a clear view of student performance and the District’s continual monitoring and adjustments. This is critical to correct the MISREPRESENTATIONS of data in the public.

The District website is very transparent and provides full disclosure of results, highlights and current initiatives underway to improve each Milestone. Everything is publicly available at: and mailed to all district stakeholders in the annual quality report.

Visual Display of Data

To visualize the data most appropriately, we chose to use BAR CHARTS. Our rationale:

  • We needed a zero-point axis to provide visual context with a 100% maximum score.

  • We did not modify the scale to visually manipulate or accentuate changes.

  • All metrics are shown on one graph, with the same scale.

Data Discussion: Pandemic periods are not relevant data points.

  • Disruptions in learning for 2020 and 2021 were a national problem.

  • In 2019-20, we lost about 1/3 of the year to virtual school.

  • 2020-21 was hybrid learning. No schools were immune.

  • 2020 and 2021 results were omitted.

  • Recognition of 2015-16. We recognize 2015-16 was a high-water mark for Milestone data, but are primarily concerned with the 3-year trend, pre-pandemic.

  • Raw data is provided and is displayed on a bar chart at the end of this report.

Calculation of Changes in Period Data

Proper Calculation. To calculate the “change in a milestone”, simply subtract one period from the other. This method is actually very common and widely understood. It can be called a "percentage point change" or "% point change" or more commonly, just "change". For example, a change from 90% to 85% is a 5% change. Simple. Or you could say a 5% point drop (a five percentage point drop).

Manipulative Calculation. The recall group uses a "percentage change" or “% change”, which is inaccurate (and misleading). A percent change of a percent doesn’t make sense and doesn’t give you comparable information. See the examples below.

  • Calculation: (current – past)/past. Alternative: (current/past) -1 << my personal preference, using Algebra to simplify things.

  • Typically, this calculation is used for things like growth rates, discounts or say price increases.

  • This change becomes more significant the smaller the base results become. See below.

Trends for MTSD’s SEVEN Internal Milestones

  • Two (2) academic milestones are INCREASING

  • Three (3) academic milestones are trending FLAT.

  • One (1) academic milestone was DOWN (milestone #4 - see below)

  • Milestone 7 on student engagement is DOWN (see below).

  • Countermeasures and action plans are in place and monitored for all milestones

Milestone 4: ACT Benchmark Attainment Breakdown

  • From 2017 to 2019, the state of Wisconsin average dropped 6% due to presumed changes in the test. Wisconsin benchmark attainment went from 37% to 31% (MTSD attainment is double).

  • Mandatory Algebra for 7th and 8th graders was fully rolled out in 2018-19. Class time in math was also increased from 50 minutes to 75 minutes. These students will take the ACT in 2023. In 2017-18, 8th graders had 1 year of Algebra and sit for the ACT in 2022.

  • Biology is a “Gateway Science” and became mandatory for Freshman and Graduation in 2018-19. This student cohort sat for the ACT in 2021.

Per MTSD, Below are current initiatives underway associated with efforts to improve this data point:

  • Mathematics programming designed to ensure that all MTSD students are enrolled in at least Algebra 1 prior to high school.

  • Science programming designed to ensure all MTSD students are enrolled in Biology in their freshman year at the high school.

  • Provide a variety of after school content-specific support/test-prep classes, which are facilitated by our teachers.

  • Web-based prep lessons designed to help students prepare for the ACT test and maximize their test taking abilities.

  • Professional coaching by instructional specialists to support differentiated literacy instruction.

  • Targeted teacher teams collaborate to ensure student needs are being met in the classroom.

  • Ongoing collaboration between building administrators, student services staff, counseling department and teachers on how to best meet the needs of each child.

  • Targeted teaching strategies to support students in areas that are in need of improvement

  • Data analysis on ACT Aspire, using that data to drive instructional opportunities.

  • Increased use of ongoing data to drive instruction.

Milestone 7: Student Engagement (Grades 4-12)

Per MTSD, Below are current initiatives underway associated with efforts to improve this data point:

  • Integrated social and emotional learning practices within the existing instructional environment.

  • Building level student review teams to regularly review quantitative and qualitative outcomes to determine individualized student support needs.

  • Onsite credit recovery programming for juniors and seniors at the high school at risk of not graduating on time.

  • Annual review of courses that includes consideration of student needs and interests.

  • Increase the number of opportunities for middle school students to learn about potential career opportunities from professionals in a variety of careers.

  • Increase the number of opportunities for high school students to explore the variety of post-secondary education and career opportunities.

  • Increase the number of apprenticeship opportunities for juniors and seniors. See Page 87 in the Homestead Course Guide.

  • Building focus on student belonging at the secondary level.

  • District team will be attending Comprehensive School Mental Health Academy which will provide monthly coaching sessions.

Raw Data from MTSD

Recall Graphs

  • Present only the negative graphs.

  • Data includes pandemic years 2020 and 2021, which are NOT CORRECTLY comparable to history.

  • In every graph, data changes were MISCALCULATED.

  • Graphs are scaled in a MISLEADING way to visually accentuate changes.

  • VISUAL TRICKS. Graphs have no zero-point axis and are not comparable to each other.

  • Beyond the graphs, the Recall group never took the time to understand the data.


As always, if any information is deemed to be incorrect or misleading, please contact us immediately at:

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