Majority of MEAP scores improve across county

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ARENAC COUNTY — The Michigan Department of Education released MEAP scores for fall 2009, and overall, most school districts in Arenac County experienced an increase in proficiency levels for a majority of the grade levels and subject areas.

MEAP scores are divided into four categories that reflect a student’s level of proficiency in the subject areas tested. Level 1 is advanced, Level 2 is proficient, Level 3 is partially proficient and Level 4 is not proficient. Students who score in either Level 1 or Level 2 are considered proficient or above.

Most grades at the AuGres-Sims schools had an increase in the percentage of students who met or exceeded Level 1 or Level 2 on the MEAP.

“Our students scored above average on 13 of the 16 tests,” said Anne Doriean, superintendent for AuGres-Sims schools.

The most significant change was in the eighth grade, which had its proficiency go up significantly across the board between 2008 and 2009. Math went from 73.9 percent in 2008 to 85.3 percent in 2009. Reading went from 78.3 percent to 85.3 percent, and science went from 78.3 percent to 94.1 percent.

The eighth-grade science test also had the largest increase for AuGres-Sims, with a change of 15.8 percent.

“This isn’t about teaching to the test; it’s about teaching to the curriculum,” Doriean said. “I’m really proud of the job we’ve done. Our teachers are doing a good job, and our parents and students are engaged as well.”

The largest decrease was in seventh-grade math, which went from 93.8 percent proficiency in 2008 to 84 percent in 2009, which is a 9.8 percent drop.

Doriean said that large leaps in scores — both positive and negative — are often viewed as anomalies.

“What you’re looking for are incremental increases over time,” she said. “Across the board, we’re showing nice, consistent scores.”

The Arenac Eastern School District also had increased proficiency in many of the subject areas and grade levels. The proficiency levels in all of the subject areas for fifth grade — math, reading and science — increased significantly. Math and reading both jumped 29.2 percent, bringing them from 55 percent in 2008 to 84.2 percent in 2009. Science proficiency went from 80 percent to 89.5 percent.

“I think it’s the young, aggressive teachers we have,” AE Superintendent Bill Grusecki said. “They laid a lot of groundwork.”

However, ninth-grade social studies dropped from 74.2 percent to 57.1 percent, which was the largest drop in proficiency for the school district.

“We are going to put strategies in place to improve on our weak areas,” Grusecki said.

For the Standish-Sterling Community School District, most of the grades in the elementary, middle and high school had an increase in the number of students who met or exceeded the proficiency requirement of the MEAP. The highest level of proficiency was fourth-grade math, which was 99.2 percent.

The schools only experienced one large drop in proficiency, which was in eighth-grade math. The proficiency went from a 72.6 percent in 2008 to a 59 percent in 2009.

The largest increase in proficiency was a 12.7 percent jump for seventh-grade reading, which went from 71.7 percent in 2008 to 84.4 percent in 2009.

Both elementary schools had proficiency levels above 90 percent in all subjects. Sterling Elementary School’s fourth grade scored 100 percent proficient in math, and it was the only school across all districts and grade levels to do so. The fourth-graders also reached 100 percent proficiency in math as third-graders in 2008. Standish Elementary School’s highest proficiency was also fourth-grade math, which was 98.4 percent.

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