Local educators assess MEAP scores

By: Maria Allard, Brad D. Bates | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published February 27, 2013

Local educators are reviewing the Michigan Educational Assessment Program test results that the Michigan Department of Education released Feb. 11.

This past fall, Michigan students in third through eighth grades were tested in reading and math; students in fourth and seventh grades also were tested in writing; fifth- and eighth-grade students were tested in science; and sixth- and ninth-grade students were tested in social studies.

The MEAP is designed to determine students’ progress compared to standards that the state Board of Education sets. Test scores are based on whether or not students met or exceeded the state standards. According to a press release from the MDE, students statewide showed gains in reading, math and writing in all grade levels for the fall 2012 testing period.

According to the MDE, student scores statewide increased in reading at all grade levels, particularly in third and eighth grades, with increases of 4.1 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively.

Students also showed an improvement in math, with the largest gains in third, fourth and fifth grades, with increases of 4.6 percent, 5 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively.

“These gains demonstrate Michigan’s teachers and students are rising to the challenge of the rigorous standards established last year,” state Superintendent Mike Flanagan said in a prepared statement. “I am encouraged by the progress being made in Michigan schools and look forward to the continued efforts to help all students achieve at a higher level in all subjects.”

Students within the Utica Communtiy Schools distrct mirrored those statewide resuts, as UCS Superintendent Christine Johns said the distrct led all Macomb County public schools in scores.

“I think the credit goes out to our teachers and administrators, “ Johns said. “We are very proud to have consistent performances in all grade levels in all schools.”

In the fall 2012 exams, 54 percent of UCS third-grade students met or exceeded proficiency in math, followed by 57 percent of fourth-graders, 61 percent of fifth-graders, 59 percent of sixth-graders, 55 percent of seventh-graders and 45 percent of eighth-graders.

Math scores from 2011 saw 44 percent of third-grade students meet or exceed proficiency in math, followed by 52 percent of fourth-graders, 48 percent of fifth-graders, 53 percent of sixth-graders, 54 percent of seventh-graders and 43 percent of eighth-graders.

In reading, 75 percent of third-graders, 75 percent of fourth-graders, 78 percent of fifth-graders, 78 percent of sixth-graders, 72 percent of seventh-graders and 72 percent of eighth-graders were proficient or advanced in 2012.

The year before, UCS’s reading scores came in at 68 percent of third-graders, 77 percent of fourth-graders, 76 percent of fifth-graders, 79 percent of sixth-graders, 68 percent of seventh-graders and 72 percent of eighth-graders testing as proficient or advanced.

Writing results saw 58 percent of fourth-graders and 64 percent of seventh-graders meet or exceed proficiency standards in 2012, after 58 percent of fourth-graders and 61 percent of seventh-graders met or exceeded proficiency standards in 2011.

In science, 15 percent of fifth-graders and 19 percent of eighth-graders were proficient or advanced for 2012, while those numbers came in at 15 percent of fifth-graders and 21 percent of eighth-graders as proficient or advanced in 2011.

And in social studies, 40 percent of sixth-graders and 43 percent of ninth-graders were proficient or advanced, which was up from 37 percent of sixth-graders and 39 percent of ninth-graders testing as proficient or advanced in 2011.

Robert Freehan, Warren Consolidated Schools spokesperson, said WCS students “went up in some areas and down in some areas,” but with the MEAP, “You’re looking at general results” and not individually at each student.

“They’re more significant to the state,” Freehan said. “You’re comparing a different set of students.”

Therefore, WCS recently began using the standardized test known as the Iowa test. Freehan said the Iowa test is given in the fall and then again in the spring in the district to individually assess student achievement. 

“We use it to see the growth individual students have made during the course of the year,” Freehan said. “It gives the teachers an indication where each individual student stands. A teacher can look to see how much growth there has been. The MEAP test doesn’t really give you that particular data.”

The Iowa test was given to WCS students this fall. They will be re-tested this spring.

To view complete MEAP results, visit www.michigan.gov/mischooldata.