About the Data - Enrollment

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Overview

Enrollment is a head count of all students receiving their primary PK-12 educational services through Wisconsin public schools. Enrollments by district, by school, and by student group are available on the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Website.

Where to Find Data about Enrollment
School Years  WISEdash Public Portal   School District Performance Report   WINSS Historical Downloads 
Beginning in 2007-08 X X --
2005-06 through 2006-07 X -- --
1995-96 through 2004-05 -- -- X

Enrollment data are used extensively across data topics by the three data portals. The School District Performance Report (SDPR) integrates enrollment data into summaries for other data topics but does not report enrollment data separately. WISEdash is DPI's primary data analysis portal and contains the most current and most complete range of data about enrollment. WINSS Data Analysis was DPI's primary public data portal for enrollment information until Fall 2013 when more recent years of WINSS data were migrated to WISEdash. Multiple statutory provisions relate to counting of students on the 3rd Friday of September so most publicly reported counts are as of that date.

Unless otherwise indicated, all information about WISEdash data on this page is about the Certified Data View, the default WISEdash Data View. For details, see WISEdash Support - about the Current and Certified Data Views.


Cautions

  1. Due to differences in data availability, methods used to count students vary across count dates so comparisons should be made with this in mind. For all methods, a student counts only if his/her school enrollment/exit date range includes the relevant count dates.
    • For 3rd Friday of September enrollment, districts must submit count date status codes. Only students coded as actively receiving educational services are included in 3rd Friday of September enrollment counts. Students subject to temporary long-term absences are coded as not actively receiving services and are not counted. This latter group (typically several hundred students) is a small fraction of a percent of the total number of students statewide, however this percent varies by district.
    • Count date status is not collected for 2nd Friday of January enrollment. Students subject to temporary long-term absences are included in 2nd Friday of January counts.
  2. Enrollment and membership are collected separately and differences in the purposes of these collections affect which students count for which districts and whether or how much each student counts. Enrollment and membership counts will not typically match. The focus of this webpage is enrollment. For more details about the relationship between enrollment and membership, see WSLS, ISES, and Membership.
  3. In 2010-11, modifications were made in the collection and reporting of race/ethnicity data. Two new categories were added increasing the number of categories reported from 5 to 7. Although key language used in defining the five continuing categories was unchanged, some modifications were made which should be considered when comparing 2010-11 data by race/ethnicity with data for earlier years. See Frequently Asked Questions about Enrollment Counts below.
  4. In 2004-05, the PI-1290 Fall Enrollment Collection was replaced by the Individual Student Enrollment System (ISES). Movement to ISES was a major change for Wisconsin and for school districts. This marked the use of a unique student ID to track enrollment, attendance and academic outcomes, exit information including transfer/dropout status and high school completion, and demographic data required for mandated disaggregated reporting. Note that:
    • ISES enrollment data for this 2004-05 initial transition year are not comprehensive so should be interpreted with caution.
    • 2005-06 ISES enrollment data are believed to be more reliable than 2004-05 ISES enrollment data. However, implementation in some districts was more difficult than in other districts and there are likely to be some continuing data reliability issues in 2005-06.
  5. Through 2004-05, in some cases, the student counts used in calculating percents or rates came from different collections or are as of different dates. See Data Sources below for information about affected counts and percents. These percents must be interpreted as estimates and can exceed 100% if the count of students in a group on one date exceeds the total count of students in a school or district on another date.
  6. Enrollment data are used for a variety of purposes which affects the way data are aggregated. Because WISEdash, SDPR, and WINSS data are primarily intended for school improvement and accountability purposes, students are included in counts for the district/school accountable for the students' educational outcomes regardless of the location of service delivery or any other factors. Data in WISEdash, SDPR, or in WINSS files may not exactly match other publicly available enrollment counts such as those used for non-accountability purposes. Note that differences will almost always be very small and be due to such factors as dates of the counts, whether the counts are FTE or headcounts, residency status, the physical location of services, or which agencies are included in the counts.

Definitions of Key Terms

Enrollment. Head count of students who receive their primary PK-12 educational services either (1) directly from school district employees or (2) from third parties** under the direct supervision of the school district. If a district is accountable for a student's educational outcomes, then the student is included in the district's enrollment counts, regardless of the location of or schedule for service delivery. Students need not occupy a seat in a school building to be counted. Criteria that apply to counting of students in school districts also apply to nondistrict charter schools (under s. 118.40(2r) , Wis. Stats.). When enrollment is as of the 3rd Friday of September, students must have either been actively receiving services on that date or be absent but receiving those services before and after that date. For more information about counting students as of 3rd Friday of September, see Count Date Status. The 2nd Friday of January count is based on enrollment during any period of time which includes the count date rather than enrollment gathered as of the specific date. Enrollment may not match membership.

**Third parties might include technical colleges, community-based organizations, nonprofit-nonsectarian agencies, universities, school to work program providers, Cooperative Educational Service Agencies (CESAs), out-of-state school districts, private schools, residential care centers, Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Wisconsin School for the Deaf, County Children with Disabilities Education Board schools, etc.

Student with Disabilities. A student with an impairment that requires special education and related services as determined by a current evaluation and a current, active individualized education program (IEP). To be counted as "with disabilities", a student must be IDEA-eligible. Otherwise, a student is counted as "without disabilities". A student with disabilities meets the definition of "child with a disability" in the federal regulations (300.8 CFR 34) under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) and s. 115.76(5)(a), Wis. Stats. For more details, see Disability Data Collection and Reporting.

Economically Disadvantaged Student. Counted as being "economically disadvantaged" based on membership in a household that meets the income eligibility guidelines for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or an approved alternative mechanism. Economically disadvantaged students meet requirements for coding as F, R, or A as described on http://lbstat.dpi.wi.gov/lbstat_dataecon. Prior to 2005-06, only students eligible for free or reduced-price meals based on an approved application or direct certification under NSLP were counted as economically disadvantaged (no alternative mechanism). For more details, see Economically Disadvantaged Data Collection and Reporting.

ELL/LEP Student. English language learner, also known as limited English proficient student. Limited English Proficient (LEP) is defined in the Title IX sec. 9101(25) of ESEA. This category includes students with English language proficiency classifications of 1-5. For more information about English language proficiency classifications and other details see English Language Proficiency Collection and Reporting.

For more definitions, see WISEdash Glossary (includes terms used in WINSS): http://wise.dpi.wi.gov/wisedash_glossary


Counting Students and Calculating Percents

Enrollment Count: The number of students enrolled on specific dates as determined by school enrollment/exit dates that cover those dates. Additional factors may be considered as described below.

  • Count Date Status codes are used when available (i.e. for the 3rd Friday of September). Students coded as not actively receiving educational services as of the count date (due to temporary expulsion, serious illness, or other rare temporary long term absences) are excluded from the 3rd Friday of September count.
  • DPI collections allow a narrow overlap of enrollment periods for any student transferring between schools. If any overlap includes the 3rd Friday of September, then the more recent record is counted so the student counts in only one school as of that date. For the 2nd Friday of January, any transferring student with overlapping school enrollment periods counts in both schools but only once in statewide summaries. This situation is rare (tiny fraction of a percent of students statewide but varies for individual districts/schools).

Percents by Student Group: Student group count as a percent of the enrollment count for all student groups combined.

Percent Change (WISEdash): For any given year, change in enrollment as a percent of prior year enrollment. Change in enrollment is the enrollment count for the given year less the enrollment count for the prior year.

Notice about WISEdash Data Views

Unless otherwise indicated, all information about WISEdash data on this page is about the Certified Data View, the default WISEdash Data View. This Data View is drawn from a database containing a wide range of related data which are edited for accuracy/logicalness/consistency, approved by districts, and reviewed/finalized by DPI prior to official publication. This process typically takes months.

Users wishing to preview enrollment data before official publication, or to see the impact of resolution of duplicate student identifiers after offical publication, should select Current Data View. Data in the Current Data View are ever-changing. Note that the sources and use of data in the Current Data View vary somewhat from official sources so totals and/or disaggregated counts, percents, and averages may not exactly match other publicly available reports.

For Enrollment in the Current Data View, Wisconsin Student Locator System (WSLS) enrollment records are used until ISES Year End records are finalized. Count Date Status codes are not available from either source. For any transferring student with overlapping enrollment records that include a count date, the more recent record is counted. Counts for future dates use open-ended WSLS enrollment periods that begin before that date. Counts based primarily on WSLS rather than ISES (i.e. before ISES Year End records are finalized) are more likely to be higher or lower than actual counts as districts work to update exit dates and add new students to WSLS.

For more details, see WISEdash Support - about the Current and Certified Data Views.


Data Changes Over Time

  • 1995-96 through 2003-04. 3rd Friday of September enrollment counts by grade level, gender, and race/ethnicity are based on the PI 1290 Fall (3rd Friday of September) Enrollment Collection. Disaggregation was expanded over time to include ELL/LEP, economically disadvantaged, and students with disabilities using counts from other collections and dates as follows:
    • 1998-99. Counts of ELL/LEP students by language group were added based on the spring LEP data collection.
    • 2000-01. Counts of Economically Disadvantaged students were added based on NSLP free/reduced-price lunch eligibility data from the October DPI School Lunch Collection.
    • 2002-03. Counts of students with disabilities by primary disability were added based on the December 1 PI-2197 IDEA Federal Student Data Report
  • Beginning in 2004-05. All total and student group enrollment counts were as of 3rd Friday of September and came from ISES except for 2004-05 counts of economically disadvantaged students and ELL/LEP students. (See Data Sources below.) With ISES the criteria for counting students became more explicit.
  • Beginning in 2005-06. All 3rd Friday of September enrollment counts came from the same collection (ISES). All counts regardless of student group were as of that same date. The definition of Economically Disadvantaged changed slightly to focus more on household income (not exclusively on NSLP eligibility). 2nd Friday of January enrollment counts were first available in WISEdash for 2005-06.
  • Beginning in 2010-11. New race/ethnicity collection/aggregation requirements were implemented. See Frequently Asked Questions about Enrollment Counts below.

Data Sources

Beginning in 2005-06, all 3rd Friday of September enrollment counts are based on ISES Count Date (3rd Friday of September) records, and all 2nd Friday of January enrollment counts are based on ISES Year End records.

For 2004-05, all enrollment counts are based on ISES Count Date (3rd Friday of September) records with the following exceptions.

  • Counts of economically disadvantaged students for 2004-05 are based on October DPI School Lunch Collection. The number of students eligible for free and reduced price lunch under the NSLP is collected as of the last operating day of October of the current year. The counts are the numbers of children eligible for free and reduced price meals based on approved applications or direct certification.
  • Counts of ELL/LEP students by language group for 2004-05 are based on the spring Limited English Proficient (LEP) data collection.

Prior to 2004-05, all enrollment counts are based on the PI 1290 Fall Enrollment Collection with exceptions listed below. For the PI 1290, school districts summed up their students and reported the total on the 3rd Friday of September rather than reporting each student individually.

  • Counts by disability are based on the PI 2197 Federal Student Data Collection (AKA December 1 Child Count). The federal child count requires the collection of disability conditions affecting students receiving special education and related services.
  • Counts of economically disadvantaged students are based on the October DPI School Lunch Collection.
  • Counts of ELL/LEP students by language group are based on the spring Limited English Proficient (LEP) data collection.

The table below summarizes differences in 3rd Friday of September enrollment data sources across DPI public data tools/reports. Note that 2004-05 was the first full year of the ISES collection and 2005-06 is the first year of enrollment data in WISEdash.

3rd Friday of September Enrollment Data Sources by Data Tool/Report
Data Element WISEdash (Certified Data View) School District Performance Report WINSS Historical Downloads
District/School ISES Count Date (3rd Friday of September) records. Accountable district/school is used. Same as WISEdash. Beginning in 2004-05, same as WISEdash. Prior to 2004-05, PI-1290 Fall Enrollment collection.
Enrollment Counts ISES Count Date (3rd Friday of September) records. Same as WISEdash. Beginning in 2004-05, same as WISEdash. Prior to 2004-05, PI-1290 Fall Enrollment collection.
Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and Grade Level Placement ISES Count Date (3rd Friday of September) records. Same as WISEdash. Same as Enrollment Counts.
Disability Status ISES Count Date (3rd Friday of September) records. Same as WISEdash. 2002-03 through 2003-04 Federal Student Data Collection (AKA PI-2197 December 1 Child Count) for counts of students with disabilities. Otherwise same as Enrollment Counts.
Economic Status ISES Count Date (3rd Friday of September) records. NA 2000-01 through 2004-05 October DPI School Lunch Collection for counts of economically disadvantaged students. Otherwise same as Enrollment Counts.
ELL (English Proficiency) Status ISES Count Date (3rd Friday of September) records. NA 1998-99 through 2004-05 spring Limited English Proficient (LEP) data collection for counts of ELL/LEP students by language group. Otherwise same as Enrollment Counts.
Migrant Status ISES Count Date (3rd Friday of September) records. NA NA

2nd Friday of January enrollment is available only in WISEdash. In the Certified Data View, all 2nd Friday of January data are based on ISES Year End records for enrollment periods that include the 2nd Friday of January. Accountable district/school is used.

In the Current Data View, 3rd Friday of September and 2nd Friday of January enrollment counts and district/school are initially based on WSLS records. Student group data (e.g. grade level, economic status, etc) may come from another source (e.g. WSAS or ISES Count Date records) or, if unavailable, may be reported as "unknown". After ISES Year End records are available, all 3rd Friday of September and 2nd Friday of January data in the Current Data View come from these ISES Year End records. The Current Data View always reports the district/school that has submitted the student record, regardless of whether a separate accountable district/school is also identified in the record.


Frequently Asked Questions about Enrollment Counts

  1. How long does it take for fall enrollment data (Certified Data View) to become available in WISEdash after the start of the current school year?

    Fall (3rd Friday of September) enrollment data in WISEdash is taken exclusively from ISES Count Date (3rd Friday of September) records. The lag time between the start of a school year and the submission, correction, and finalization of ISES Count Date (3rd Friday of September) records for that school year is typically 5-6 months. Therefore, 3rd Friday of September enrollment data for a given school year typically become available in WISEdash during the winter/spring of that school year. Users wishing to preview these data before that time should select Current Data View.

  2. Are all public schools included in WISEdash enrollment summaries?

    In general, yes. WISEdash (and WINSS and SDPR) data tools/reports include data for all public schools (including charter schools) in school districts and all nondistrict charter schools (under s. 118.40(2r), Wis. Stats.).

    Note that WISEdash Certified Data View, SDPR, and WINSS Historical Downloads summarize student data by district/school accountable for the students' educational outcomes. Students need not occupy a seat in a school building to be included in district and school summaries. If a district/school is accountable for a student's outcomes then the student is included in summaries for that district/school regardless of location/provider of educational services received by the student. (WISEdash Current Data View summarizes student data by district/school submitting the data about these students. The submitting district/school is usually but not always the same as the accountable district/school.)

    Nearly all the data in WISEdash are collected to meet federal and state reporting requirements. The broadest range of requirements apply to school districts and nondistrict charter schools. A more limited set of requirements apply to Department of Corrections and Department of Health Services schools and very few requirements apply to private schools. Data for the latter set of schools are reported separately and not included in WISEdash.

  3. Why do different enrollment counts appear for the same school and year under different data topics?

    For certain topics, data are reported only for students in specific grades. For example, truancy and retention are reported only for students in grades K-12. Extra-curricular activities are reported for students in grades 6-12. Dropouts are reported for students in grades 7-12. Community activities are reported for students in grades 9-12. In these cases, enrollment counts are for the grade range relevant to the specific topic. The grade range of the topic is generally reflected in the "grade_label" column of the WINSS download file. The grade range of the enrollment count may be further narrowed in certain rows if counts are for a specific "school_type" or "grade group" (e.g. High School).

  4. How and why have race/ethnicity reporting categories changed?

    Beginning with 2010-11, the US Department of Education required educational institutions to collect and report racial and ethnic data in accordance with modified standards and aggregation categories. The seven modified reporting categories, and important information necessary for understanding these categories, are listed below:

    Reporting Category Description / Comments
    American Indian or Alaska Native Student is not Hispanic/Latino and identifies with exactly one race/ethnicity category, this category.
    Asian Student is not Hispanic/Latino and identifies with exactly one race/ethnicity category, this category.
    Black or African American Student is not Hispanic/Latino and identifies with exactly one race/ethnicity category, this category.
    Hispanic/Latino Student is Hispanic/Latino and identifies with one or more other race/ethnicity categories.
    Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander       Student is not Hispanic/Latino and identifies with exactly one race/ethnicity category, this category.
    White. Student is not Hispanic/Latino and identifies with exactly one race/ethnicity category, this category.
    Two or More Races Student is not Hispanic/Latino and identifies with more than one other race/ethnicity category.

     

    A detailed description of the required modifications is provided in Final Guidance on Maintaining, Collecting, and Reporting Racial and Ethnic Data to the U. S. Department of Education.

    Prior to 2010-11, US Department of Education required educational institutions to collect and report race/ethnicity in one of five categories: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian or Pacific Islander, Black Not Hispanic, Hispanic, and White Not Hispanic. Students identifying with more than one race/ethicity were counted in the category with which the student most identified. Consequently, students who might have selected two or more race/ethnicity category were required to identify a single category. Hispanic students could be counted in one of the other race/ethnicity categories, e.g. American Indian or Asian, rather than in the Hispanic category.

  5. Why might the counts of students by economic status in WISEdash or WINSS files be different from counts from other sources?

    ISES data about economic status are included in a variety of DPI reports that are used for a variety of purposes. ISES data are aggregated in different ways for these purposes.

    For WISEdash and WINSS purposes, students are included in counts for the district/school accountable for the students' educational outcomes. ISES data are also used for non-accountability purposes including e-rate discounts and to qualify site/centers under the USDA child nutrition programs. School counts used for these other purposes may not match those on WINSS because these other counts are based on where students actually sit even if accountability for the students' outcomes is assigned to another school, students served outside of school buildings are not counted at all, and in some cases charter, magnet, and partnership schools are excluded.

    In some cases, poverty rates reported by other sources are not based on ISES data. ISES requires districts to submit current year poverty data. These data may be incomplete for districts participating in the National School Lunch Program under Provision 2 (approximately one percent of districts, all relatively small at this time) since Provision 2 requires updated income data only at periodic multi-year intervals. For 2008-09 and 2009-10, districts participating in Provision 2 for the lunch program include Crandon, Laona, Menominee Indian, Wabeno, and White Lake. Participating nondistrict charter schools include Central City Cyberschool (2008-09 and 2009-10) and BEAM (2008-09). Consequently, for districts not collecting current year data, other sources might use estimates based on data from earlier years.

  6. For any given count date, why might enrollment counts in WISEdash, SDPR, and WINSS differ from membership counts?

    Differences in the purposes of these counts affect which students count for which districts and whether or how much each student counts. WISEdash, SDPR, and WINSS are designed, in part, to meet state and federal public reporting requirements which focus on accountability for student educational outcomes. Membership counts come from different data sources and are used for school finance purposes. For more information, see WSLS, ISES, and Membership.


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