MEAP Test Scores Low, but Rising

By: Brian Johnson Email
By: Brian Johnson Email

For students across Michigan, the 2013 MEAP scores show a four year upward tread in math, reading, science and writing. Third through ninth graders are each making progress, by a few percentage points--five or six.

However the proficiency levels are a different story.

"We have a long ways to go in all content areas. Mathematics is right now 30-40 percent proficient," said James Griffiths, the Michigan Department of Education Assessment Manager describing the test scores across the state.

More than half the students in the state aren't passing the test.

When it comes to social studies, three out of four kids don't pass-- and that's worse than it was four years ago.

In science, only one in five students are proficient.

"Any way you look at it, we've got some work to do. We are really putting some pressure on the administration to bring those numbers up," said Peter Spadafore, the Lansing School Board President.

In Lansing, the largest district in Mid-Michigan, the problem is worse than the state scores in every subject.

In science for example, only one in 20 eighth graders are proficient.

"I'm not here to tell you it's all roses and sunshine, but I think we've got the right people in the right spots and we're working in the right direction to start to see those results," said Spadafore.

"I don't think there is a fault for low scores, I think we have a lot of work to do, all of us, to provide our children the best education they can get in a world that will continually challenge them," said Griffiths.

Test designers said over the years the content on the tests has gotten tougher, and the score to be considered proficient has been raised, so students, teachers, and administrators are fighting an uphill battle.

Next year the state will stop giving the MEAP test. In its place, students will take one on a computer. If they answer a question right, they'll get harder questions. If students answer wrong, they'll be given easier questions. It will be similar in style to the post graduate college exam, GRE.

"The whole idea is to be able to hone in on what a student knows or doesn't know," said Griffiths.

The state believes the new test will give an even more accurate picture of student learning.

Given the test results, the Department of Education suggests more time be spent in the classroom. It said districts should consider extending the school year by 15 to 25 days, beyond the required 175.


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