Avondale, RCS students continue to excel on MME, ACT

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published August 13, 2014

ROCHESTER — High school juniors in the Rochester Community Schools and Avondale Schools districts scored well above the state averages on the Michigan Merit Exam, according to results recently released by the Michigan Department of Education.

After a change in state law, the Michigan Educational Assessment Program test was replaced by the MME — which was given to 11th-graders for the first time in spring 2007. The exam consists of three major components: the ACT college entrance examination, the WorkKeys job skills assessments in reading and math, and Michigan assessments in math, science, social studies and persuasive writing.

In 2012, the state adopted new cut scores for MME tests that the MDE says better reflect how well schools are preparing students for success at the next grade level and whether all Michigan students are progressing at a level sufficient for them to be career-  or college-ready when they complete high school. The cut scores define the level of performance — advanced, proficient, partially proficient or not proficient — a student has achieved on a given test.

Irene Larson, director of assessment, grants and compliance for RCS, said Rochester Community Schools students’ 2014 scores continue to rank in the top five of the 28 school districts in Oakland County.

“This year, we were actually very pleased with the scores. We went up, not only on the MME itself, but also on the ACT, in every subject area. That was nice to see,” she said.

The best scores districtwide occurred in reading, in which more than 78 percent of students were deemed proficient or advanced. Other notable scores were reported in writing, where 74 percent of students met or exceeded state standards, and social studies, where 68 percent were proficient or advanced. In math, 58 percent of RCS students met or exceeded standards, while 53 percent were deemed proficient or advanced in science. The district’s ACT average was 23.5, up from last year’s 22.6.

In Avondale, juniors’ MME scores increased from 2013 in four of five testing areas.

Avondale interim Superintendent Rick Repicky said in a statement that standardized test scores are just one of several indicators reflecting the inner workings of a school.

“While the value of standardized test scores tend to be overrated, especially considering that students change from year to year and the state makes frequent curriculum and testing changes, an increase in positive test scores gives us reason to pause, note the progress and thank those responsible for guiding our students,” he said in a statement.

Avondale High School’s MME results include increased scores in reading, writing, science and social studies — in fact, reading, writing and science scores saw double-digit increases and set a record high for the last five years, according to district officials. In Avondale, 63 percent of students were reported to be proficient or advanced in reading, 46 percent met or exceeded standards in writing, and 45 percent were proficient in social studies. A total of 31 percent met or exceeded standards in math, while 32 percent were deemed proficient or above in science. The district’s ACT average was again 20, like last year. Avondale’s scores also surpassed state scores in all five tested areas and surpassed Oakland County scores in reading, writing and science.

“We believe there is a strong correlation between the increased MME reading and writing scores, and Avondale’s district-wide focus on literacy in recent years,” Repicky said in a statement.  “The Avondale Academy, the district’s alternative high school, also saw significant jumps in reading and writing.”

To view a full report of scores, visit www.michigan.gov/mischooldata.