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Grosse Pointes, Harper Woods

MEAP scores take a turn for the better

February 22, 2013

HARPER WOODS/GROSSE POINTES — Both the state and the local school districts had something to smile about with the release of the fall 2012 Michigan Educational Assessment Program results.

Students in third through ninth grades took the test, and the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards is on the rise when compared to last year’s results across the state.

State officials were pleased to see the growth in the number of students scoring proficient or better in reading, math and writing.

“We’re moving in the right direction and that’s a credit to our schools, parents and the students, themselves,” Gov. Rick Snyder stated in a press release. “But much work remains and achieving further gains will demand our continued commitment. Michigan’s future depends on the quality of education and preparation our students receive. It is critical to ensure our children are ready when they first enter school and are on track to be career- and college-ready by the time they graduate.”

Districts have had results since late last year to give them time to review and start working on a plan of action to improve scores further.

“These gains demonstrate Michigan’s teachers and students are rising to the challenge of the rigorous standards established last year,” state Superintendent Mike Flanagan stated in a press release. “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.”

“I have confidence that teachers will be able to use these and other data to develop strategies and interventions to help all students, in all subjects, succeed,” Flanagan stated.

Across the state, more than 60 to 70 percent of students met or exceeded standards on the reading portion of the test, with all grade levels showing some improvement. In math, approximately 33 to 46 percent met or exceeded state standards through all grade levels tested, with improvement at each level. Writing also improved in the two grade levels tested, with 47 and 52 percent of students scoring proficient or better.

In social studies, almost 30 percent of sixth-grade students across the state scored proficient or higher, which was up 2 percent from last year. Ninth-grade students performed at about the same level as last year throughout the state with 29 percent scoring proficient or better.

Science didn’t have the same positive results with slightly fewer students in the state meeting or exceeding standards with 13 percent doing so in fifth grade and 16 percent in eighth grade.

Harper Woods and the Grosse Pointe Public Schools had news to take pride in when the scores were officially released.

“Overall, our MEAP performance improved, when comparing fall of 2011 to the fall of 2012, by 3.2 percent,” Harper Woods Superintendent Todd Biederwolf said in an email. “Our students and our staff are performing at a higher level.”

Results improved in Harper Woods with more students scoring proficient or higher for many subjects.

“District-wide reading performance increased 4.5 percent,” Biederwolf said. “Reading is critical to a student’s ability to be academically successful; this is a critical gain. District-wide writing performance was improved by 6.3 percent; another essential skill that successful students must have. This is a significant improvement in our performance.

“In science, fifth-grade proficiency rose from 1 percent to 8 percent and in eighth grade, it rose from 3 percent to 6 percent,” he said. “In some districts, not a single student was proficient in science. The expectations in science, and in all content areas, are challenging. While we remain below state averages in this content area, it is great to see these improvements.”   

The district didn’t see a rise in math results, but there was good news in that area, as well.

“We do see some positive trends in the data that reflect more of our students are retaining their math skills from one grade to the next,” he said. The district didn’t have the results they were hoping for in social studies, which saw a drop in results for tested grade levels.

“This is a performance area that must be addressed immediately,” Biederwolf said. “If we can improve in other areas, we can improve here, as well. As our ‘customers,’ you should expect, and your children deserve, better outcomes here. We will work to deliver them.”

While the district saw positive change on the MEAP with some more work to do to make improvements, that wasn’t the only positive news they wanted to share about the district.

Harper Woods far surpasses the percentage of students across the state when it comes to graduation rates, with 94 percent of its students graduating in four years, compared to 76 percent across the state.

“We are significantly outperforming graduation rates seen elsewhere,” Biederwolf said.       

Harper Woods is in the top five concerning graduation rates in the county and it outpaces some other counties, Biederwolf said. 

“The (Harper Woods) graduation rate exceeds every district in both Macomb and Livingston counties,” he said. 

When the MEAP scores came out last week, Grosse Pointe Public Schools was celebrating its own good news.

Grosse Pointe students continue to outpace the state results, as well as show improvement in a number of areas.

“GPPSS is proud to share our results, which are well above the state average and steady in all areas, and have improved in 13, stayed the same in one, and gone down slightly in four (less than 3 percentage points), of the 18 tested areas,” the district stated on its website the day that the results were officially released to the public.

The district noted that they use more than the MEAP to assess student achievement and noted a number of other ways that students are assessed each school year.

Grosse Pointe continues to significantly outpace the state when it comes to the percentage of students who meet or exceed standards, with a more than 20 percent difference in most cases.

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