School educational performance outcomes in Fox Cities remain strong overall. While four-year high school graduation rates experienced a rise and fall between 2013 and 2016, rates increased between 2016 and 2017 across all regions. Calumet, Outagamie, and Winnebago all ranked above the state’s average in 2017, while Wisconsin is ranked sixth highest in statewide1 graduation rates across the United States.
Grade 5 attendance has been identified as a leading indicator of academic success in the long run, as this is an age where students can become less engaged, leading to challenges in later grades. While grade 5 attendance rates for the Fox Cities Region are currently above the state average, a decline was recorded across all geographies between 2016 and 2017. Calumet saw the greatest drop in grade 5 attendance rates, falling 2.3 percentage points; although attendance data for at least one school district in the county were not reported in 2017.
Habitual truants can fall behind in their school work and are at a greater risk of dropping out of school. Habitual truancy rates for Calumet, Outagamie, and Winnebago are consistently lower than the Wisconsin average. The gap narrowed between Winnebago and the state’s average in 2016, however, with truancy rates in the county increasing by 2.24 percentage points between 2015 and 2016.
Student math, reading, and science proficiency rates are all above the state average, although declines in science scores occurred between 2015 and 2016 across all regions with the introduction of the Forward exam. In 2018, proficiency levels across math, science, and reading ranged between 45.8% and 55.9% in each county, meaning at least 44% of students were not proficient in one or more basic academic subject.
With the exception of Calumet County, the gap in reading proficiency levels between non- and economically disadvantaged 3rd graders was smaller for the Fox Cities region in 2018 when compared to the state of Wisconsin. The Fox Cities region displayed higher overall reading proficiency rates for all 3rd graders, however, when compared to the states average in 2018.
High school dropout rates were relatively flat between 2013 and 2017 in Calumet, Outagamie, Winnebago, and Wisconsin. However, the 2010-2014 idle teen rate for the Fox Cities ranges from just 0.7% in Calumet to 2.5% in Outagamie, much lower than the United States average of 5.2%. Although the four-year graduation rate declined among all racial/ethnic groups between 2015 and 2016, with the exception of those in the Two or More Races category, an increase was recorded across all groups between 2016 and 2017. The four-year graduation rate for students in the American Indian/Alaska Native group saw the greatest jump, increasing from 71% to 86% between 2016 and 2017.
The percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch decreased slightly across the Fox Cities region and state of Wisconsin between 2014 and 2018. The percentage of students eligible for FRPL was also higher for minority groups when compared to White students from 2013 to 2017. Only 22.7% of White students in 2017 were eligible for free or reduced lunch, up slightly from 2016; this is substantially lower than eligibility rates among Black or African American (74.1%) or Hispanic (69.5%) students in 2017.
The educational cost per student across the Fox Cities counties has risen from 2012 to 2014, with all counties spending below the state average. Calumet and Outagamie spending in 2013 was higher than the United States average2, with Winnebago slightly lower.
(1)See 2017 state rankings in the “High School Graduation in 2017” tab in the following link: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/all/Graduation