While this year's high school MEAP scores are a disappointment for some, Northwest Community Schools Superintendent Emily Kress says she's largely satisfied.
"On almost all areas, we exceeded the state average," Kress said.
Besides that, she says Northwest High has seen MEAP numbers steadily improve over the years. Still, there's one area for improvement in the Jackson County district.
"It's on writing and we're only off [of the state average] by one percent," Kress said.
The district is already working to improve those writing scores, according to Kress. And she says the district has been working to improve overall test scores by gearing classroom instruction to the tests.
"When they take the test, we've taught them what they need to learn," Kress said.
Despite all the focus high schools are giving to MEAP scores, they're getting ready to give students a whole new test next year.
"When you give the ACT to all students, they have an increased level of motivation to take the test because it means something," Kress said.
Michigan high schoolers have taken the ACT for years as a college entrance exam of sorts. Now the same test will be used to measure all high schoolers in the state, as part of the new "Michigan Merit Test." A move some say has side benefits.
"For some of those students, it's an 'a-ha,' wow, I did well on this test. Maybe I could go to college," Kress said.
A conclusion education leaders across the state say more students should be coming to if Michigan wants to grow and compete in the global economy.