The Wisconsin Department of Instruction (DPI) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison today announced a $5.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education that will fund a collaboration between DPI and UW aimed at helping schools narrow the achievement and opportunity gaps among Wisconsin students.
According to new federal data, the graduation gap between white and black students in Wisconsin high schools is the most pronounced in the country.
For the past decade, DPI has worked with public school districts across the state to collect data about students, staff and academic courses and have provided reports based on this information. Over the next four years, researchers at the DPI and UW-Madison’s Wisconsin Center for Education Research will analyze data from all state public schools. The center will receive up to $600,000 annually to identify Wisconsin schools where racial and economic achievement gaps are narrowing and identify the best practices they use that could be replicated elsewhere.
Three other UW-Madison research programs will also take part including the Wisconsin Collaborative Education Research Network, the Wisconsin Evaluation Collaborative and the Institute for Research on Poverty.
The project expands on work already underway at DPI to document and address the state’s achievement gaps. Last year, DPI created a task force to study the data around Wisconsin’s achievement gaps. Schools that showed promise in closing those gaps selected educators and school leaders to share their work. A report based upon those recommendations was issued titled “Promoting Excellence for All” to help families, schools and community members to engage in efforts to close achievement gaps.
Data on demographics and rates of attendance, truancy and graduation for each school in the state is available on the DPI website.