Test scores from the 2011 Michigan Educational Assessment Program were released Wednesday. The test measures progress in subjects such as math, reading, writing, science and social studies for third through ninth-graders.
Results show areas for both improvement and decline for .
Forty-one percent of third-grade students in Dexter were ranked proficient in math, versus 39 percent in 2010 and 42 percent in 2009. Third-grade students also saw changes in their reading scores, with 81.4 percent proficiency in 2011 versus 85.6 proficiency in 2010.
In math, scores were up across the district from 2010, save for fifth-graders, which showed a district-total decline of 2.6 percent proficiency, and sixth-graders, who saw a 15.1 percent drop in proficiency.
Reading scores also saw a small improvement when compared to 2010 scores in all grade levels except third and sixth grade.
Statewide reading and mathematics scores saw positive gains compared to the previous year, the Michigan Department of Education said in a press release.
"We have a lot of room to grow, but this is a positive step," said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan. "I am very confident that we have professionals in our classrooms who will continue to step up to the challenge of preparing our students to achieve at higher levels."
The cut scores — the passing scores that distinguish between whether a student is advanced, proficient, partially proficient or not proficient in certain subjects — were adopted by the State Board of Education in September 2011. With the more rigorous cut scores, students need to get roughly 65 percent of the answers correct to “pass” the state test, instead of only 39 percent as was the previous benchmark .
The MEAP cut scores better reflect how well schools are preparing students for success at the next grade level and whether students are progressing at a level "sufficient" for colleges and universities.
Superintendent Mary Marshall said while the data is important to educators, it is not the only assessment school districts use.
"The data represents a change in cut scores which the State of Michigan feels is a better representation of college andc areer readiness. While I do not know if you can actually measure college and career readiness in third grade, I do appreciate the state coming up with a scoring system that allows us to identify specific focal points in each content area to review where we are meeting students' academic needs and others where our curriculum alignment needs further refinement," Marshall said.
"One of the challenges we now face is with the transition to the , aligning to grade level content expectations that will change after next year does not make sense. We are engaged in rigorous curriculum work that allows us to transition to the more rigorous Common Core state standards and the related shift in assessments that will take begin to take place in 2013-14."
Marshall said parents should not be alarmed by the change in their son or daughter's score.
"Parents may see a decline in their child's performance because of the new cut scores implemented this year, but in most cases, when we compare this year's scaled scores to last year's, we are seeing that more students improved in their performance than declined," she said. "We can note where we see declines and make sure we teachers are aware of specific areas where a child might not have made the growth we would like to see."
Although the results of the fall 2011 MEAP assessments were released publicly Wednesday, school districts in Michigan received student-level results from the fall 2011 MEAP in December, providing teachers with the ability to review and analyze those results and to use that information to provide targeted instruction to students.2010 Dexter Math Reading Writing Science Social Studies Grade 3 39% 85.6% N/A N/A N/A Grade 4 44.9% 76.7% 59% N/A N/A Grade 5 52% 75% N/A 26% N/A Grade 6 54% 84% N/A N/A 51% Grade 7 58.4% 80% 72% N/A N/A Grade 8 51% 72% N/A 30% N/A Grade 9 N/A N/A N/A N/A 56%
2011 Dexter Math Reading Writing Science Social Studies Grade 3 41.4% 81.4% N/A N/A N/A Grade 4 50.2% 81.5% 63% N/A N/A Grade 5 49.4% 83.3% N/A 20.5% N/A Grade 6 38.9% 80% N/A N/A 52% Grade 7 62.5% 83% 72% N/A N/A Grade 8 56% 82% 82% 34.5% N/A Grade 9 N/A N/A N/A N/A 48% 2011 statewide Math Reading Writing Science Social Studies Grade3 36% 62% N/A N/A N/A Grade 4 39% 67% 44% N/A N/A Grade 5 39.6% 68.8% N/A 15.3% N/A Grade 6 37% 67% N/A N/A 27% Grade 7 37% 59% 47% N/A N/A Grade 8 29.4% 60.5% N/A 16.5% N/A Grade 9 N/A N/A N/A N/A 35%