The 2011-2012 statewide Michigan Educational Assessment Programs scores were released Wednesday, and most schools are seeing lower test scores and less proficient students due to changes in cut scores. The same pressure is applied for area schools because of higher standards from the Michigan Board of Education and overall changes to MEAP testing.
Alpena Public Schools Superintendent Brent Holcomb said in general, Alpena always has been close to or above state average on the MEAP test.
"Our students' scores actually rose in many areas from last year's scores. If this had been a year without change in cut scores, we would have seen a similar number of students being proficient this year," Holcomb said.
The new minimum score for proficiency affected all area schools, but Northeast Michigan superintendents remain positive and are making necessary changes to meet the new standards.
"We shared our MEAP scores with the entire school board and had long conversations with our staff. We have a lot of work ahead of us. I looked at every student's scores, and the majority made gains, but we still have a lot more work to do," Hillman interim Superintendent Shawn Olson said.
While Hillman math and science scores were lower, many students were above average for social studies and reading.
Atlanta Superintendent Teresa Stauffer said she is analyzing MEAP data in order to find ways for improvements for next year, and overall she said she is pleased to move forward with an increase in reading and math scores in comparison to last year.
Bingham Arts Academy students increased writing and math scores. Principal Sue Finley said some of the grades had significant improvement, especially in writing, but she is still analyzing the data for improvements for next year.
"The scores are not surprising, due to the increase in cut scores. It gives us a good idea of where we need improvement," Posen Consolidated Schools Superintendent Dru Milliron said. Posen Schools had major decreases in science scores, but fourth grade writing scores increased.
Rogers City Area Schools had increases in fourth grade writing scores and overall decreases in science and social studies scores. Superintendent Kathleen Makowski said that even with the new cut score changes, all of the efforts that have been put into reading, writing and language arts have paid off.
"We appreciate getting those scores earlier in the year so we can make the necessary curricular changes. The scores helped us to identify areas of improvement, and we're happy to see the performance in the areas we've been focusing on," Makowski said.
Alcona Community Schools were above average on reading scores, had slight increases in math scores, but were still under the new cut score proficient level in many areas, and had increased science and writing scores.
APS scored above the new cut score average on reading, but scored lower in math and social studies.
"We're not in a panic because we know we are strong in reading and writing and we are striving to show continuous improvement in math scores," Holcomb said.
While the new common core curriculum standards have been raised for all grade levels, all area school superintendents showed an interest in raising curriculum to meet the new standards for each grade level, while professionally developing staff.
"As curriculum and expectations change, it is the responsibility of the teacher and the district to seek out new teaching strategies and find ways to engage our students and their families in the new expectations for college- and career-bound students," Holcomb said.
Emily Siegmon can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687.