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‘Michigan Students Are Making Progress’ State Test Scores Show, But College Readiness Slips

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(credit: istock)

(credit: istock)

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LANSING (CBS Detroit) – The latest state test score show Michigan students are improving across all subjects.

The state’s high school assessment results, released Monday by the Michigan Department of Education, show big jumps from 2013 to 2014 in both social studies and reading scores of 5.3 and 5.2.

The biggest improvements on the Michigan Merit Exam (MME) — administered annually in the spring to high school juniors — were in social studies, where the average score rose from 38.6 to 43.9; and in reading, with a jump from 53.5 to 58.7.

Even so, the percentage of Michigan juniors considered ready for college declined after rising in the previous four years, because of a slight drop in the percentage of students meeting proficiency levels in the math section of the ACT —  a college-entrance exam for juniors.

The ACT results showed four-year proficiency gains for all students tested and 2013-2014 gains ranging from .4 to .8 points in all subjects except math, which fell 1.1 points.

The college readiness rate is a benchmark that Gov. Rick Snyder uses to measure Michigan school performance. It dropped from 18.1 percent to 17.8 percent.

State Deputy Superintendent Joseph Martineau isn’t discouraged by that.

“We do have a positive trend over time,” Martineau told WWJ Newsradio 950. “Those kinds of things when we see small ups and downs because the trends are not smooth, that’s something we see every time we release (the scores).”

“We’re try not to over-interpret that too much,” he said. “I think the issue is that we do have positive trends over the last four years in just about every area.”

According to the MDE, much of the students’ success is thanks to the continued roll out of the Michigan Merit Curriculum in Michigan classrooms that has students learning rigorous math, science, social studies, English language arts concepts, as well as visual and performing arts, and a world language.

“Michigan students are making progress,” Snyder said, in a media release. “These improved scores reflect the hard work of the students, and also the great effort of teachers and others in our state’s schools dedicated to improvement. Our mission is to keep that focus on our students, making sure they have the rigorous education they need to be successful.”

Reading proficiency scores increased 5.2 points from 53.5 to 58.7 percent between 2013 and 2014, and 6 points and in the four years since 2010 – representing the largest long-term gain of all subjects and students tested.

Social studies scores gained over 5 points from 2013 to 2014, reversing several years of declining scores. Science scores were up nearly 3 points this year from 25.7 to 28.4 percent and a similar amount during the past four years. Writing scores increased from 49.3 to 50.8 percent in the past year and almost 4 points since 2011.

Math scores showed a four year gain of 1.5 points and small increase of .2 points from 2013 to 2014.

“The continued improvements over time show the value of requiring Michigan students taking rigorous coursework,” said State Superintendent Mike Flanagan. “Whether they learn the higher-level concepts in a traditional classroom or in a career-tech course, students are learning.”

Another positive development in the 2014 MME results were the one- and four-year gains posted in most subjects by nearly all demographic groups. African American student proficiency scores during the past four years in reading showed a 6-point gain from 23.7 to 31.3 percent.

“We still have heavy lifting to do, particularly on further reducing the achievement gap,” Flanagan said, “but these results show that we now are headed in the right direction among high school students who are graduating soon.”

To search MME results by district or school, VISIT THIS LINK.

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