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Statewide Reading and Mathematics Proficiency Increases on 2011 MEAP Assessment
February 15, 2012 LANSING - Statewide reading and mathematics scores in the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP), tested each year in grades three through eight, saw positive gains compared to the previous year, the Michigan Department of Education reported today.
Reading saw an average three-percent increase in the percentage of students being proficient; and mathematics saw an average one-percent increase. When broken out by grade, all grades saw an increase in mathematics, and all saw an increase in reading except grade three, which had a nominal decrease (less than 1 percent).
“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. I'm so proud of them.”
This past year, the state adopted improved “cut scores” for the MEAP that represented career- and college-ready achievement standards. Cut scores are essential in defining the level of performance (i.e., Advanced, Proficient, Partially Proficient, and Not Proficient) a student has achieved on a given test.
The career- and college-ready MEAP cut scores better reflect how well schools are preparing students for success at the next grade level and whether all Michigan students are progressing at a level sufficient for them to be career- and college-ready when they complete their high school education.
These more rigorous cut scores have been applied operationally for the first time to the fall 2011 MEAP results being released today; however, the career- and college-ready cut scores also have been retroactively applied to MEAP results from prior years to facilitate meaningful comparisons of the percentage of students proficient in each content area across years.
In reading, 62 percent of third grade students, 68 percent of fourth grade students, and 69 percent of fifth grade students attained “proficiency,” meaning the students achieved a performance level of Advanced or Proficient. Reading proficiency was 67 percent for sixth grade students, 60 percent for seventh grade students, and 61 percent for eighth grade students.
Students with Disabilities, Economically Disadvantaged students, Limited English Proficient students, and students identifying themselves as Native American/Alaska Native or Hispanic of Any Race showed the largest gains in reading proficiency among student demographic groups across grades three through eight.
In mathematics, 36 percent of third grade students and 40 percent of fourth and fifth grade students attained proficiency. Mathematics proficiency was 37 percent for sixth and seventh grade students and 29 percent for eighth grade students.
When comparing mathematics gains among student demographic groups across grades three through eight, the largest gains occurred among Limited English Proficient students, Students with Disabilities, and students identifying themselves as Native American/Alaska Native or of Two or More Races.
“These are the results we expected after the adjustment of the cut scores, though also as expected, the gains achieved this year in reading and mathematics demonstrate that our students will continue to make academic progress even with this adjustment,” Flanagan said.
“The new cut scores show that we aren’t where we thought we were before, but this is the picture of where we are now,” Flanagan explained. “The focus needs to be taking this to the next level.”
Science, tested in grades five and eight, saw the percentage of students proficient decrease in grade five, while student proficiency in eighth grade increased compared to last year. Fifteen percent of fifth graders attained proficiency in science compared to 17 percent in 2010. Seventeen percent of eighth grade students attained science proficiency compared to 15 percent in 2010. Despite the decline in grade five, the Asian and Native American/Alaska Native student demographic groups achieved a one-percent gain in science proficiency across grades five and eight compared to last year.
Social studies, tested in grades six and nine, saw scores remain consistent in sixth grade and decline in ninth grade. Sixth grade students remained at 28 percent proficient; however, 29 percent of ninth grade students attained proficiency, compared to 33 percent the previous year. Sixth grade social studies saw gains of greater than one percent in the Asian, Two or More Races, and Limited English Proficient student demographic groups compared to 2010.
Writing, tested in grades four and seven, saw a decrease in both grades. Forty-five percent of fourth grade students were proficient in 2011 compared to 47 percent the previous year. Seventh grade proficiency scores decreased slightly from 48 in 2010 to 47 percent in 2011. Despite the decline overall, the Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander student demographic group saw significant gains across grades four and seven in writing compared to last year.
Flanagan said, “I applauded the strong support we received from Michigan educators for raising our cut scores to better prepare all students. I have every confidence that academic growth will continue in reading and mathematics and Michigan students and educators will meet the challenge to increase proficiency in science, social studies, and writing.”
The MEAP test is based on state education standards and is the only common measure given statewide to students. It is designed to measure what Michigan educators, employers, and parents believe all students should know and be able to do in five content areas: mathematics, reading, science, social studies, and writing. Michigan students are tested each October on skills learned through the end of the previous year.
Although the results of the fall 2011 MEAP assessments are being released publicly today, 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 at the earliest opportunity, and to use that information to provide targeted instruction to students.
While a majority of students in Michigan participate in the MEAP, it is not appropriate for some Students with Disabilities (SWD). For that reason, the state developed MI-Access, the state’s alternate assessment program.
There are three MI-Access assessments in which students with disabilities can take part: Participation; Supported Independence; and Functional Independence. The assessment a student takes is determined by that student’s Individualized Education Program Team (IEPT) based upon their consideration of the student’s cognitive functioning level, level of independence, curriculum and instruction.
To view complete MI-Access results, go to www.michigan.gov/mi-access and click on “Statewide Results, Demographic Summary and Item Analysis Reports (State, District, School)” and select the Fall 2011 MI-Access test cycle.
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