Academic and Career Planning (ACP)

  • A state supported program in which students are encouraged to be actively engaged in creating visions for their own academic and career success.
  • For more information on ACP, click here.


  • The ACT is a college-entrance exam used to measure a student's preparedness for college education. It is based on required high school curriculum and is used as one of several application tools when applying to university.
  • Learn more about the ACT.
  • Register for the ACT

ACT Aspire

  • Aligned with the ACT college entrance exam and Common Core principles, ACT Aspire is an assessment system that allows educators and education researchers to track student college readiness prior to the ACT being taken.
  • Using previously researched best practices and years of student data, ACT Aspire seeks to measure student progress and help them grow their college and career readiness skills and knowledge.
  • Learn more about ACT Aspire


Badger Exam

  • The Badger exam was the state of Wisconsin's replacement for the WKCE in the 2014-15 school year, testing students in English/Language Arts and Mathematics as part of the Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS)
  • The exam was designed to assess levels of knowledge and ability to apply key concepts
  • While this exam is part of the WSAS, as are the WKCE and Forward exam, the exam scores themselves, as well as proficiency levels, are not comparable


Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL)

  • CASEL began in Chicago in 1994 in an effort to promote evidence-based practices to expand social and emotional learning (SEL) and improve education practices. The five tenets of SEL they promote are:
    • Self-awareness
    • Self-management
    • Social awareness
    • Relationship skills
    • Responsible decision making
  • Milwaukee Succeeds seeks to work closely with CASEL in an effort to standardize SEL in the Milwaukee area and offer the chance to track student progress across schools and out-of-school time programs to ensure all students are getting the best level of education.
  • Learn more about CASEL

Contextual Indicators

  • Factors that have an impact on educational outcomes independent of what occurs in the classroom (i.e. poverty, racial and ethnic disparities).

Contributing Indicators

  • Smaller-scale levers that we have a better chance of influencing. These indicators are associated with but are not the direct or main metric (measure) being used to track progress on improving the community-level outcome.
  • In theory, Contributing Indicators will contribute to, or affect movement on, Core Indicators. By focusing work on contributing indicators, we are supporting efforts toward multiple core indicators.

Core Indicators

  • Large-scale (population-level) levers that need to be moved in order to achieve the cradle to career vision. We report these measures to track progress on/trends in community-level outcomes.


Data Redaction

  • Redaction is the act of preparing something for publishing, and, in the specific case of data, it is deleting or hiding certain instances of data to ensure the privacy of those individuals the data describes.
  • We have tried to compile and report the most complete data possible, but, in some instances, there are so few subjects that the data must be replaced or hidden in order to protect their privacy.

Deep Poverty Level

  • This is defined as income being 50% or less of the poverty level, shown in the chart below for 2016. Each percent is a percent of the poverty level:
Household Size 50% 66.5% 75% 100% 125% 150% 200%
1 $5,940 $7,900 $8,910 $11,880 $14,850 $17,820 $23,760
2 $8,010 $10,654 $12,015 $16,020 $20,025 $24,030 $32,040
3 $10,080 $13,407 $15,120 $20,160 $25,200 $30,240 $40,320
4 $12,150 $16,160 $18,225 $24,300 $30,375 $36,450 $48,600
5 $14,220 $18,913 $21,330 $28,440 $35,550 $42,660 $56,880
6 $16,290 $21,666 $24,435 $32,580 $40,725 $48,870 $65,160
7 $18,365 $24,426 $27,548 $36,730 $45,913 $55,095 $73,460
8 $20,445 $27,192 $30,668 $40,890 $51,113 $61,335 $81,780

Developmental Assets

  • Identified by the Search Institute, these are positive experiences and qualities shown to be essential to healthy psychological and social development in childhood and adolescence.

Developmental Assets Profile (DAP)

  • The DAP is a survey that measures eight developmental assets categories to monitor how students are doing personally and socially.
  • Learn more about the DAP

Deveraux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA)

  • The DESSA is a strength-based behavior rating scale that seeks to examine socio-emotional competencies that serve as protective factors for children in Kindergarten through eighth grade
  • Learn more about the DESSA



  • In educational terms, ‘equity’ is the principle of altering current practices and perspectives to teach for social transformation and to promote equitable learning outcomes for students of all social groups. Equity is the approach. Equality is the goal. (Lee, E. (2002). Coaching for equity. Reflections, 5(1). Santa Cruz, CA: New Teacher Center)
  • Racial equity means equal access, opportunity, and fairness for all people so that each can reach their full potential and are no longer likely to encounter barriers or be denied benefits based on race or ethnicity (Adopted by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation Board of Directors, September 2015).


Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

  • As a part of the US Department of Education, Federal Student Aid provides more than $150 billion dollars in federal grants, loans and work-study funds each year to more than 13 million students attending postsecondary institutions.
  • As the easiest way for students to gain assistance in paying for college, encouraging students to complete the FAFSA is one of Milwaukee Succeeds’ Postsecondary Goal Networks’ main objectives.
  • Learn more about the FAFSA








Measure of Academic Progress (MAP)

  • This is an assessment tool that adapts to each student’s learning level and thus is able to measure individual growth.
  • MAP was a required MPS assessment but MPS recently incorporated the STAR assessment. Other Milwaukee schools still use MAP to track early grade literacy.
  • Learn more about the MAP assessment




Performance Measures (or Principles of Collective Impact)

  • Definition: Performance Measures – or the Principles of Collective Impact – are the actions Milwaukee Succeeds facilitates with community partners in an effort to make progress on the Contributing Indicators, which are aligned with our Core Indicators and overall goals.
  • The four we examine:
    1. Uniting Groups around a Single Purpose: People representing diverse interests convene around a single purpose (i.e. success for every child, in every school, cradle to career), shared goals (e.g. all children are prepared to enter school), and articulated core indicators (e.g. kindergarten readiness, 3rd grade reading proficiency, 8th grade math proficiency, etc.)
      • As measured by:
        • Everyone united around a core indicator agrees to the goal
        • Everyone united around a core indicator attends network activities supported by partner organizations committed to the shared goals
        • Partner organizations encourage information from the network activities to be shared within their own organizations
        • Network members are aware of other networks, partner organizations, and the Milwaukee Succeeds leadership structure

2. Identifying Best Practices: A best practice is a sector-wide agreement that standardizes the most effective way to accomplish a desired outcome, generally consisting of a technique, method, or process and usually described formally and in detail.

      • As measured by:
        • Best practices are utilized to conduct self-evaluation for course correction
        • Best practices around core and contributing indicators are determined, documented, and communicated.
        • Best practices are based on evidence found in a literature review, expert knowledge, and employed in the appropriate applications/context
        • Network members can explain the evidence that directs the network strategies and share that information with their own organizations

3. Using Data to Drive Decisions: Making decisions that are informed by identified data

      • As measured by:
        • Network members are aware of the data related to their core indicators and track trends of these indicators for children
        • Members use data (indicators) from literature review, expertise, and relevant trend data to recommend targets, actions, and strategies
        • Members use evaluation data – both implementation and outcome data, qualitative and quantitative – to drive the direction of further action
      • Members regularly monitor progress toward contributing indicators across the networks (i.e. quarterly, across goals areas)
      • Determine new indicators needed as the network’s initiatives evolve
      • Stratify indicators and Milwaukee Succeeds messages based on different audiences

4. Expanding What Works: Growth in the essential program components (best practices) demonstrated to be effective.

      • As measured by:
        • There is documented evidence that program components are successful – from evidenced based research or from pilot project evaluation results
        • Each network is able to identify a project that stemmed from best practices and creates a plan for replication or expansion of those essential program components
        • For every expansion project there is an evaluation plan in place to determine continued success of the program components, and evaluation results are communicated to all appropriate stakeholders, including those administering the program components

Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS)

  • PALS was Wisconsin's required literacy screener from 2012-13 to 2015-16
  • Testing began in 2012-13 with only 5-year old kindergarten students, which was expanded to 4 year old kindergarten students and 1st graders in 2013-14, then expanded once again to include 2nd graders as well in 2014-15
  • The PALS requirement was replaced by tests of districts' choosing for the 2016-17 school year

Pilot Project

  • In an effort to study a program’s effectiveness, cost, feasibility, and other factors that may influence program effectiveness, Milwaukee Succeeds and community partners implement a “pilot project” when network activities lead to that type of action. Such projects often involve a small number of schools, sometimes along with community partners. If a program is determined effective and feasible, the idea is to scale it to a larger number of schools/environments.

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

  • PBIS is a framework created to assist school personnel in adopting behavioral interventions in order to enhance academic and social behavior outcomes for all students.
  • Learn more about PBIS

Poverty Level (Poverty Threshold)

  • The poverty level, measured by the US Census Bureau, is found by comparing pre-tax income to the amount of income it would take to afford three times the cost of a minimum food diet in 1963, adjusted annually for inflation using the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
  • These are determined differently for Alaska and Hawaii
  • The poverty level is used to determine eligibility for a wide range of public assistance programs, for research to track poverty levels over time, or comparing poverty between different demographic groups.
    • For 2016, the levels are listed in the table below. Each percent is a percent of the poverty level:
Household Size 100% 133% 150% 200% 250% 300% 400%
1 $11,880 $15,800 $17,820 $23,760 $29,700 $35,640 $47,520
2 $16,020 $21,307 $24,030 $32,040 $40,050 $48,060 $64,080
3 $20,160 $26,813 $30,240 $40,320 $50,400 $60,480 $80,640
4 $24,300 $32,319 $36,450 $48,600 $60,750 $72,900 $97,200
5 $28,440 $37,825 $42,660 $56,880 $71,100 $85,320 $113,760
6 $32,580 $43,331 $48,870 $65,160 $81,450 $97,740 $130,320
7 $36,730 $48,851 $55,095 $73,460 $91,825 $110,190 $146,920
8 $40,890 $54,384 $61,335 $81,780 $102,225 $122,670 $163,560

Poverty Rate

  • The poverty rate is the percentage of people who fall under the poverty threshold compared to the entire population.
  • To calculate poverty rate, divide the number that falls under the poverty threshold by the total population (that is under examination), then multiply by 100.




  • In order to protect a respondant's privacy, data is made unavailable due to small collection sizes during compilation or analysis


  • Remedial education is designed to assist students who don’t meet academic requirements for certain classes or programs in achieving expected competencies in core academics such as literacy and numeracy.
  • The Milwaukee Succeeds Postsecondary Access network has a focus on remediation.


Second Step

  • Second Step is a curriculum that teaches children from Prekindergarten to 8th grade social and emotional skills such as learning, empathy, emotion management, friendship skills, and problem solving through a wide-variety of methods.
  • Learn more about Second Step

STAR Assessments

  • The STAR-Reading and STAR-Early Literacy assessments are computer-adaptive tests used in Milwaukee Public Schools to track early childhood literacy and reading skills, given 3 times a year: Fall, Winter, and Spring.
  • The test began in 1996 as the Standardized Test for the Assessment of Reading, but has since been expanded into other areas of learning. The anagram was then dropped in lieu of STAR-Reading.
  • Learn more about the STAR assessment

Summer Melt

  • Even after committing to a postsecondary institution, some students do not actually enroll in the fall semester after high school completion.
  • The summer melt phenomenon is more often the case for students who no longer have access to high school counselors, who may not be familiar with support resources available at their intended institution, or whose families lack experience with the college-going process.
  • The Milwaukee Succeeds Postsecondary Access network has a focus on summer melt.


Transformative Reading Instruction (TRI)

  • TRI is a set of practices implemented with the vision of the school principals in order to accommodate a wide variety of student learning needs. The practices include intensive evidence-based professional development and coaching to K-2 teachers on foundational reading and social-emotional skills; professional development and coaching is aligned with tutoring, family engagement workshops, and experiential learning.
  • Begun in 2014 with 2 schools, the TRI model was developed by the partners involved in Milwaukee Succeeds. Its aim was to take advantage of evidence-based practices to tailor reading instruction to 3rd graders in an effort to increase the number of students who reach reading proficiency. In the 2015-2016 school year, the program expanded to include an additional 5 schools, bringing the total to 7.




Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination (WKCE)

  • Developed and designed specifically for Wisconsin schools by the Department of Public Instruction and Wisconsin educators in partnership with CTB/McGraw Hill, the WKCE assessment tested students in grades 4, 8, and 10 in Reading, Mathematics, Language Arts/Writing, Science, and Social Studies
  • In 2014-15, this was replaced by the Badger Exam




  • YoungStar is Wisconsin's child care quality rating and improvement system. We give parents the tools and information they need to raise happy, healthy kids. By providing professional support, YoungStar helps preschools, home-based programs, learning centers, and other child care providers give children safe, nurturing places to grow.
    • How does YoungStar do this?
    • By objectively measuring child care quality, YoungStar rates thousands of child care providers each year, awarding up to five stars for the best quality of care.
    • By giving parents an easy way to compare their local child care options, which helps them find the programs that match their family's lifestyle, budget, and special needs.
    • By supporting providers with tools and training to deliver high-quality care.
    • By setting a consistent standard for child care quality.
    • By rating childcare centers on a scale from 1 to 5, parents, school staff, and education researchers are able to gather information about quality childcare centers in an effort to expand quality child care across the Milwaukee area.
    • Quality childcare is one of the Contributing Indicators of Kindergarten Readiness on the Milwaukee Succeeds Roadmap.
  • Learn more about YoungStar


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