Milwaukee Public Schools
Press Release

More MPS students meeting reading standards year-over-year and over 5 years

Gains follow implementation of Comprehensive Literacy Plan; largest uptick seen at high school but the need for further improvement is great

By - Apr 8th, 2014 12:14 am

MILWAUKEE (April 7, 2014) — More Milwaukee Public Schools students are meeting standards in reading, according to the latest state test results released Tuesday, though the data continue to show the need for greater improvement.

The results show steady gains as MPS implemented and continues to implement its Comprehensive Literacy Plan, which ties instruction in classrooms across the city to rigorous standards that prepare students for college and careers.

The percentage of MPS students rated proficient or advanced in reading in fall 2013 is up about one percentage point compared to fall 2012 and about two percentage points compared to fall 2009. Each percentage point of students in MPS represents hundreds more students meeting standards. MPS 7th and 8th graders showed a stronger rate of improvement than the rest of the state in reading and 10th graders showed a stronger rate of improvement in math.

Tenth-grade students in MPS posted substantial gains, with reading proficiency in fall 2013 up more than three percentage points from fall 2012 and up more than four percentage points from fall 2009. Gains were seen in a number of the district’s historically lowest-performing schools as well as those that have traditionally performed at higher levels.

“We are beginning to see the positive impact of our Comprehensive Literacy Plan, though overall achievement is still too low,” MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton said. “We are regularly monitoring our progress in reading and mathematics as we work to both improve outcomes for students and close the achievement gap for all students, especially children of color. There is both the room and the opportunity for us to grow.”

The results continue to underscore the need for schools scoring in the lowest category on the state report card to have first access to critical additional supports.

In addition to reading growth, MPS saw year-to-year gains in the percentage of students meeting math proficiency standards in most grades tested and gains from fall 2009 to fall 2013 in grades 7, 8 and 10. MPS began implementing its Comprehensive Math and Science Plan in 2011-12 and that plan continues to be bolstered by a focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in the district. STEM efforts include programs bringing STEM education into early grades, a large number of schools utilizing the rigorous Project Lead the Way program, an expansion of aquaponics efforts and alignment of science instruction to rigorous college- and career-readiness standards.

Growth figures listed above represent increases in the data used by the state for accountability purposes: the percentage of all students – those taking the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination (WKCE) and those taking the Wisconsin Alternate Assessment (WAA) – rated proficient or advanced who were students in the district for the full academic year.

This news is available online at

About Milwaukee Public Schools
Milwaukee Public Schools, Wisconsin’s largest school district, is expanding college and career readiness efforts and continuing to implement innovative reforms that give every student the opportunity to succeed. MPS’ high-quality school options for 3-year-olds to high school seniors feature school climates in which positive behavior is reinforced; certified, highly-trained teachers; 21st-century learning technology for students; and curriculum aligned to the rigorous Common Core State Standards, which set a clear, high bar for the topics students must master at each grade level. MPS’ Class of 2013 earned $24 million in scholarships and the district is home to some of the state’s best high schools according to the Washington Post and U.S. News and World Report. More MPS news is available at

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