October 26, 2014

Higher MEAP standards to challenge SSCS

By James Kuch
News Editor | news@arenacindependent.com
Posted

STANDISH — Higher scoring standards for the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) will test the mettle of many schools in Michigan, but Standish-Sterling Community Schools Superintendent Darren Kroczaleski thinks his district will be able to overcome the challenge.

“The state has chosen to raise the percentage requirements for students to be proficient,” he said. “We are going to have to raise our level of learning.”

Kroczaleski warned the board Board of Education at the district’s monthly meeting Monday, Oct. 10, that MEAP results for SSCS may look lower this year.

“I am just prepping the board, scores may look a little rocky this year,” he said. “The only thing I can tell you is that this is going to be a statewide issue and not something that only Standish-Sterling (Community) Schools is going to have to deal with.”

Proficiency standards will rise across subjects for grades three through eight and grade 11. Kroczaleski gave an example to the board, stating that previous MEAP standards for third-grade math were 34 percent in 2010-11. This year those standards will increase to 72 percent.

Kroczaleski said that increase in proficiency standards will be a challenge for students across Michigan to reach.

“Students are going to have to put more rigor on their studies,” he said. “Teachers will have to be sure that they are getting the correct information to the students to help them learn as best as they can.”

Kroczaleski said he does not expect to see results immediately.

“This change is not going to happen overnight,” he said. “It’s going to take some time for everyone to adjust.”

Kroczaleski added that he has looked at SSCS’s past testing results, and said the district has performed well.

“Results have fluctuated from year to year, but for the most part we are always scoring above the state’s previous standards,” he said. “What that tells me is, our teachers need to continue to work hard (and) be careful of what they are teaching. If we work hard we should be fine.”

Michigan is only the third state in the U.S. to adopt higher proficiency standards, following Tennessee and New York.

Kroczaleski said Michigan Department of Education Superintendent Mike Flanagan informed superintendents across the state that the department thought it would be best for the state to adopt the new standards.

“The thought process is, if we raise our rigor, down the line the state can apply for waivers from the Federal Department of Education,” he said. “That should allow for flexibility for programming and testing in the future.”

Kroczaleski said being the third state to increase testing standards should be a sign for the Federal Department of Education to be lenient on the state’s results.

“You would think that being the third out of 50 states to do this will lead to some benefits for us,” he said.

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