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Posted: 07/16/14

RCS experiences slight
improvements on MME

Observer Staff Writer
      Romeo Community Schools exceeded Macomb County and state averages in 2013-14 Michigan Merit Exam (MME) test scores.
       The Michigan Department of Education released the results from the test on July 7, which show Romeo improving in three out of five subjects compared to previous years.
       The results also show Romeo with the second-highest ACT exam composite score in Macomb County.
       The MME tests students in grade 11 for their career- and college-readiness in the subjects of math, reading, science, social studies and writing. The exam measures how proficient they are compared to Michigan High School Content Expectations.
       Percentages are given to districts to show how many students have met or exceeded those benchmarks.
       Romeo Assistant Superintendent Eric Whitney said the district is happy about its scores faring better than the county and state, but knows there is room for growth and improvement.
       "We're still up there and we're still competitive and we're pleased to be there," Whitney said. "The changes that we need to make in our curriculum and instruction really keep pace with what we should be doing."
       He said once teachers return from summer vacation, each department will work with administrators to determine where specific improvements can be made.
       Romeo's scores rose in the areas of reading, science and social studies. Reading saw the most significant jump with an 8 percent increase, while social studies rose by 5 percent. Science increased by 3 percent.
       On the other side, math decreased by 2 percent and writing by 3 percent.
       "When you compare year-to-year it's different kids sometimes taking a different test, so it's not always easy," he said.
       When compared to the county and state, Romeo's math scores in particular was 34 percent, above the county average of 26 percent and state average of 29 percent.
       "We would like to see that improving," he said.
       Like previous years, science proved to be the lowest-scoring subject for Romeo at 30 percent proficient. Whitney said recent changes to math curriculum with the adoption of EngageNY and future changes to science will hopefully boost those scores further.
       He said education is going through changes, from having a knowledge-based learning to having students apply what they learn to understand and problem-solve. Even so, he said it's more than curriculum or technology changes that will help them grow.
       "The curriculum alone doesn't keep students achieving at high levels, we need great instruction in the classroom, we need teachers that are highly skilled," he said.
       All of Romeo's percentages were among the top 10 scores in the county, with science being the best as the third-highest percentage.
       Romeo's ACT composite score was only beat by Utica Community Schools, which had a composite score of 20.7.
       "We're happy about that, and it's been consistently there," he said. "It matters a lot to our kids and a lot to our families."
       For Macomb County, MME results increased in all areas except mathematics, which stayed the same as 2013. The highest gain was in social studies with a 7 percent increase followed by reading with a 6 percent increase and science and writing both showing a 3 percent increase.
       Judy Pritchett, chief academic officer at the Macomb Intermediate School District (MISD), said the scores will be analyzed so adjustments can be made to continue supporting the districts and students in achieving high academic results.
       "We are pleased with the solid increases in four of five subject areas on the MME and similar results for the ACT," she said. "These results show that Macomb County students continue to improve on these two assessments."
       Whitney said he would like to see Romeo's scores perform well when compared to Oakland County, which tends to out-perform Macomb County in testing.
       Macomb County's results mirror the state averages, which shows increases in every subject except math. The largest increases were in social studies and reading by 5 percent each. Writing and science went up by 2 percent.
       The ACT composite for the state decreased from 18.1 to 17.8. Prior to this year, the state average steadily rose from 16.2 for the past four years.

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