LANSING (WWJ/AP) – State education officials say the number of college-ready and career-ready students is increasing. That assessment is based on results of the annual Michigan Merit Exam taken by high school juniors.

The State Department of Education’s Joseph Martineau said this is good news.

“We’ve got improved proficiency rates and ACT scores across the board, with the exception of social studies which remain flat,” Martineau  told WWJ Newsradio 950.

The average ACT score rose from 19.4 last year to 19.6 this year. The top score on the test is 36.

Martineau said test results show a gain of more than three 3-percent over four years in both math and science.

“When we put in place the new Michigan Merit curriculum students rose to the challenge,” Martineau said. “It was a signifficant level of increase in the expected rigor for students — what they’re supposed to learn over their high school years.”

Reading and writing also improved, but roughly half the students tested are still not considered proficient.

The MME is given each spring to 11th grade students and is administered over a three-day period. Students take the ACT Plus Writing college entrance exam on Day 1, WorkKeys job skills assessment on Day 2, and the Michigan components of mathematics, science, and social studies on Day 3.

“The impact of having students engage in the rigorous Michigan Merit Curriculum is evident here,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan, in a statement. “When students have the benefit of learning higher-level subject material, more will become career- and college-ready and prepared for success.

“We have to make sure we keep motivating all students with a challenging curriculum, and not give in to thinking that our kids just can’t do it. They can and they are,” Flanagan said.

The education department reported the percentage of students who are college-ready rose from 17.4 percent to 17.7 percent.

Gov. Rick Snyder has said he wants to use college-readiness data to gauge improvement in student achievement.

However, the Detroit Free Press reports that at nearly 80 schools, no students were considered college-ready.

To view MME results from individual schools, visit

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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