RC discusses low M-STEP proficiency scores

ROGERS CITY — Rogers City middle school and high school Principal Nick Hein doesn’t know how students can score 90 percent proficient on the ACT, then have a 35 percent proficient on the M-STEP.

During a Rogers City Area Schools Board of Education workshop Monday, school test scores and curriculum were the focus.

“You’re going to see data from sixth, seventh, eighth, 11th and 12th grade,” Hein said. “Before we talk about curriculum and steps and scores, last year I did with the teaching staff that had never been done for whatever reason, in I think a decade, is actually had a curriculum lineup. We put all of our subjects in order in the sequence they were taught.”

He said that while earth science was being tested in eighth grade Rogers City wasn’t teaching it until ninth grade.

Guidance counselor Marilyn Dimick presented the state M-STEP scores to the board.

She quoted State Superintendent Brian Wilson, who said there is one consistent negative trend. She said with the exception of fifth grade language arts students were not proficient on exams across all grades and subjects.

“About 37.89 percent of the students in grades third through eighth passed the math portion, meaning 62 percent didn’t pass the state math portion. We could go on and on,” she said. “He goes on to say 23.5 in fourth and seventh who took science M-STEP and grade 11 passed. That was down from 23.8 percent in 2016; 32.8 in grades 5, 8 and 11 passed the social studies exam. There’s a lot of work to be done. Some of the things that Mr. Hein talked about. About making sure our curriculum is aligned. Helping our students with tests, test prep, test information are all good tools,” she said.

It’s not simply Rogers City, she said. It’s districts across the state that need to gain scores to be proficient, Dimick said.

She said for others the school district seems to do well. For example she said the school scored an 862 in grades eight and nine for the PSAT. The state score for this test was 872.

“Nationally we’re kind of keeping up there with where we need to be,” she said.

She said the average score for students who took the SAT is 1093.

The M-STEP scores for all students in 11th grade for social studies were 39 percent proficient. For the same grade 26.8 percent were proficient in science.

One suggestion Hein made was to have the district pay for every student to take the PSAT. He said it’s a cost of $16 to take the test and to have the district pay for every student to take the test would be about $1,000.

Hein said he also would like the teachers to continue to focus on curriculum and he will focus on other issues such as discipline.

“One thing with math, in light of other conversation because it’s semi related, students who aren’t completing all their work they’re just turning in half finished math assignments,” he said. “We’re actually assigning them lunch detentions. Now we’re not having problems completing their work.”

He said math and science are the subjects where if a student misses the basic steps they won’t be able to build off of them in the future.

“We’ll do our best and trying to improve. The ACT is the most recognized score in the state that gets kids into college. You score well on the ACT is what helps kids into college. It has a remarkable reputation for being correct, Hein said. “If you receive a 15 on the ACT that’s a reason the schools aren’t reaching out to give you scholarships. They’re not willing to bet on you. If you scored a 29, the University of Michigan is calling you up because they’re willing to bet on you that you will become successful.”

Jordan Spence can be reached via email at jspence@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5687.