(02/15/12) - Wednesday, the state released the latest round of MEAP scores.
The tests are given to students in third through ninth grade every fall. This year, students were graded on a much tougher scale because of the recent changes in standardized testing rules.
Despite the rigorous changes in testing requirements, statewide students scored higher on reading and mathematics on the test compared to previous years.
According to the Michigan Department of Education, the number of students proficient in reading increased by an average of three percent and mathematics saw an average one percent increase.
The averages are not great, but better than what some educators had expected after the State Board of Education adopted tougher testing standards or "cut scores," the cut-off point for passing or failing the exams, last fall.
It now takes significantly more correct answers for a student to score as "proficient" in math, science, reading, writing and social studies.
State officials say the new testing process is a clearer way to determine if students are being prepared for careers and college, while the old standards only demonstrated if students had a basic level of understanding the materials.
To more accurately compare this year's results, the state retroactively applied its new testing standards to results from previous years. While the average math and reading scores are higher, the average number of fifth graders proficient in science decreased and proficient scores in social studies among ninth graders dropped, as well as the average number of fourth and seventh graders proficient in writing.
State Superintendent Mike Flanagan says the overall MEAP results show that the state has a lot of room to grow, but he believes the new testing standards are a step in the right direction.
Bay City's superintendent, Douglas Newcombe, believes the 'higher standard' set by the state this year is a good move. "We've got some gains that need to be made, and I'm satisfied with the fact that we're moving in the right direction with our scores, as we're tracking students grade by grade, but overall the proficiencies have to come up. And there's nothing wrong with having higher proficiency levels, it's just a new bar that we've got to get to, and we'll get there."
Here are just a couple of results from students in some Mid-Michigan school districts:
In the Flint school district, more than 77 percent of eighth graders tested were not proficient in Math, more than 37 percent were not proficient in reading, and more than 92 percent were not proficient in science.
In the Saginaw School District, more than 60 percent of eighth graders were not proficient in Math, 17 percent were not proficient in reading and more than 77 percent were not proficient in science.
In the Bay City School District, more than 49 percent of students were not proficient in Math, more than 13 percent in reading, and more than 67 percent in science.
For a complete list of results for all other schools and school districts in the state, click HERE.
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