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Macomb Schools Test Scores Take a Hit Under New Cut Scores

A look at recent MEAP and MME scores by Macomb Township students under the state's new cut scores show a drop in the percentage deemed "proficient."

The Michigan Department of Education on Thursday released what it calls a “retrospective look” at how students would have fared on past MEAP and MME exams if new scoring standards had been in place–and none of Macomb Township’s public school districts escaped the statewide decline in proficiency levels.

The new standards, adopted by the State Board of Education in September, changed state cut scores—the scores used by schools to determine whether a student is advanced, proficient, partially proficient or not proficient in certain subjects.

Overall, the results released Thursday show a major decline in student test scores on the (MME) and the (MEAP) in math, reading, science and social studies.

Student in grades 3-9 typically take the MEAP in the fall and are tested in math, reading, writing, social studies and/or science, depending on the grade level. The MME, taken in the spring, assesses students in 11th grade based on Michigan high school standards. The test includes the ACT Plus Writing college entrance examination, along with other state proficiency tests.

Officials said they are releasing the past four years' worth of data as a way to prepare districts for this year’s results. Jan Ellis, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education, said schools can use the information to help develop ways to increase future scores.

The new cut scores are more rigorous than previous standards: Students now need to get roughly 65 percent of the answers correct to “pass” the state test, instead of the previous benchmark of only 39 percent.

In Chippewa Valley, some of the biggest drops were in MEAP math and science scores. Under the former cut scores, 80-90 percent of students were proficient in these subjects, but the new scores drop these proficiences to the low 30s in math and as low as 11 percent in eighth-grade science.

In L'Anse Creuse, New Haven and Utica schools, the largest drops occur in fifth- and eighth-grade science. (See tables below.)

Scores a 'tool to guide instruction'

Officials said the tougher standards are needed to get Michigan students on par with others who are college- and career-ready.

“These data will provide educators, parents and communities with a more accurate understanding of what student achievement would have been if the new cut scores had been in place during the past four years,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan, in a press release. “These retro-scores can serve as a tool to guide instruction, professional development and student support.”

State officials said the scores released Thursday are for informational purposes only—as a promise kept to administrators to give them an early look at how students would have fared.

“These retro-scores will not be used to recalculate any school accountability measures such as adequate yearly progress," according to the press release. "They provide historical context to prepare for the implementation of new cut scores, beginning with the scores from this fall’s MEAP tests.”

Flanagan explained that the previous standard was based on the very basic knowledge that students needed in the old industrial manufacturing economy—where students could get a high school diploma and go into a factory and get a very good-paying job. Those opportunities are mostly gone now, he said, with students needing at least a two-year community college education to compete in the technology-driven, knowledge-based economy of the 21st century.

“We have to be honest with ourselves about where we are in preparing our kids for the reality of today’s global economy,” Flanagan said. “These updated scores, while they may be difficult to accept, will help lead Michigan forward. Just looking good is not better than being good.”

2010 MEAP

The following is the percentage of students who met or exceeded state standards on the MEAP in 2010, compared to what the percentages would have been had the new cut scores been place.

Chippewa Valley Schools (Grades 3-9)


Math % Reading % Writing % Science % Soc. Studies % 3 92.6, 30 92.5, 68


4 95.2, 40 90.4, 70 55.9, 56

5 88.5, 37 90.5, 72
88.7, 20
6 89.5, 33 89, 69

81.9, 30 7 89.1, 38 84.9, 62 54.8, 55

8 84.7, 28 87.6, 60
82.5, 11
9



82, 30

*Actual 2010 scores, restrospective scores in bold.

L'Anse Creuse Public Schools: (Grades 3-9)


Math % Reading % Writing % Science % Soc. Studies % 3 97, 43 90.6, 64


4 94.3, 46 88.8, 70 58.4, 58

5 86.2, 50 90.7, 72
84.3, 20
6 91.9, 56 90.1, 72

85.6, 36 7 92.5, 50 86.4, 64 63.6, 64

8 84.2, 40 87.3, 63
84.1, 19
9



75.5, 31

New Haven Community Schools (Grades 3-9)

Math % Reading % Writing % Science % Soc. Studies % 3 97.9, 38 84, 64 4 92.7, 45 88.1, 55 44, 44 5 82.5, 41 83.8, 66 84.5, 17 6 86.5, 39 81.3, 57 80.2, 32 7 76.4, 30 72.7, 40 33.6, 34 8 83.8, 31 78.1, 45 71.4, 7 9 60.5, 17

Utica Community Schools

Math % Reading % Writing % Science % Soc. Studies % 3 98, 43 91.7, 71 4 95.6, 48 89.2, 70 57.4, 57 5 87.6, 46 89.7, 72 83.3, 18 6 93.1, 49 91.7, 73 85.5, 34 7 90.6, 50 84.2, 62 60, 60 8 85.8, 38 86.7, 62 84.6, 18 9 80.3, 44

2010 MME

and (Grade 11)


Math % Reading % Science % Writing % Soc. Studies % Dakota 61, 29 67, 55 82, 23 55, 55 67, 44 LCN 53, 29 62, 46 38, 18 53, 44 77, 32

*Actual 2010 scores, restrospective scores in bold.

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