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Posted: 03/12/14

MEAP scores show
decrease in mathematics

Observer Staff Writer
      The last Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) exam indicates that Romeo Community Schools must concentrate on improving math proficiency.
       The 2013 MEAP exam scores released by the state on Feb. 28 show Romeo students faring better than Macomb County and the state, but aren't better than the prior year's results.
       The MEAP exam tests students in reading, math, writing, science and social studies. When the results are calculated, the state provides a percentage of how many students are considered proficient or better in a subject.
       Scores throughout Michigan are low due to increased state standards two years ago. Assistant Superintendent Eric Whitney said the district is examining what areas need to be improved at each school within each subject.
       "We try to analyze the scores and see what learning strands kids had trouble with," he said. "Because they just came out we're still in the early stage of that analysis."
       The biggest disparities were in math, with sixth-grade proficiency dropping from 52 to 35 percent. In fifth-grade math, the percentage dropped from 39 percent to 28 percent. Both scores, along with fourth-grade math, were below the county averages.
       "We're still working hard on it because it's not where we want to be," he said. "If you look at our scores you can tell math is really where we need to focus."
       He said the district will consider implementing a new math curriculum in the coming weeks, while pilot programs for math have begun in some schools. The iPad Airs that will be distributed to elementary students this year will have software loaded onto them to bolster math learning.
       Third-grade reading dropped by 7 percent, though this follows the trend seen throughout the county and state. Romeo's eighth-grade reading, 85 percent, was the highest in the county.
       "That is always encouraging, you feel like what we're doing is working in that area," Whitney said.
       Romeo saw an increase in eighth-grade reading, going from 74 percent in 2012 to 85 percent in 2013. Improvement was also seen in fourth-grade writing, going up by 9 percent to 59.
       Whitney said along with side-by-side comparisons, the district looks at cohort scores by examining the same group of students. For instance, this year's fourth-grade students were 74 percent proficient in reading, and in 2012 they were also 74 percent proficient as third-grade students.
       "For the most part they're not dropping when you look at a group of students," he said.
       He said science and social studies were tested online as opposed to traditional means, a prelude to the online only tests students will take in the future. He said science saw gains, but the overall percentages are low, with only 15 percent proficient in fifth grade.
       "As compared to others and the past, we have made some gains," he said.
       In Macomb County, half of the percentages decreased when compared to 2012 scores, and only beat state averages in nine grades. The largest improvement was in eighth-grade science, while the biggest loss was in third-grade reading.
       Utica Community Schools is the only district in the county to score better in all 18 tested areas when compared to the state. Overall, Macomb County surpassed the state in five of the 18 areas.
       State averages were mixed results, as 11 of the areas saw an improvement over last year, most notably in eighth-grade reading. Reading for third grade was the biggest loss, though state officials report fourth-grade reading has improved for the fourth consecutive year.
       Whitney said this will be the last year for MEAP testing. Next year will be a new exam for measuring proficiency, though the state has yet to determine which test to use. He said officials speculate it will be the Smarter Balanced assessment, and would be taken online in the spring.
       Students took the Michigan Merit Exam and the ACT this past week. The results for these are typically released in the summer.

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Retrieved 8/4/2015 at 3:24:20 AM.
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