By ANDREA POTEET and TOM TIGANI
Sunday Times Newspapers
Michigan Educational Assessment Program scores for Downriver this year show progress, but also areas for improvement.
Allen Park Public Schools Supt. John Sturock said he is proud of the scores in his district. Eighty percent of eighth-grade students there tested in the top two levels for reading, earning “advanced” or “proficient” scores. Eighty-three percent placed in those levels in math and 76 percent did so in Science.
“We’re pleased with our scores,” Sturock said. “It’s a benchmark of what our kids do, but we know there’s work to be done.”
The test is administered yearly to students in grades three through nine in subjects like reading, math, science, writing and social studies. Ninth-grade students only take social studies.
Sturock said some of the district’s programs to improve reading in its elementary schools are showing up on this year’s test. Ninety-five percent of the district’s third-grade students scored in Levels 1 and 2 of the test in reading this year.
Despite the district’s scores, Sturock said the test is administered too infrequently to provide accurate data on student retention levels. Teacher-developed assessments are often more accurate, he said.
“If the data is to prove instruction, we only get the test once a year,” he said. “You need something that’s more frequent.”
Writing skills fell short in most districts, with only 33 percent of seventh-graders in Melvindale-Northern Allen Park Schools scoring in the top two levels. That district had higher numbers for eighth-grade reading and mathematics, with 80 percent and 70 percent in those levels, respectively. Seventy-one percent of students scored in the top two levels in science.
Lincoln Park had 29 percent of seventh-graders score in the top two levels in writing. In math, however, 93 percent of third-graders landed in levels 1 and 2, as did 81 percent of the district’s seventh-graders. The 65 percent who comprised the top two seventh-grade reading levels marked the lowest total in that category among districts in the Downriver Sunday Times coverage area.
Taylor School District seventh-graders were the second lowest in the top two writing levels at 30 percent, but had 95 percent of third-graders and 92 percent of fourth-graders in the highest math levels.
“We were not happy this year,” said Supt. David Peden of the Southgate Community School District. “We’re not sure what happened, but we’re not pleased with where we’re at.”
In his district 96 percent of third-graders finished in math levels 1 and 2, a figure that dropped to 76 percent by fifth grade before rebounding to 87 percent in seventh grade.
For Riverview, 84 percent of eighth-graders scored in the top two levels in reading, 80 percent in math, and 76 percent in science. All third-graders who took the test placed in the top two levels for math.
Trenton Public Schools saw 100 percent of its third-graders finish in the top two math levels. It also had one of the highest totals of ninth-graders in level 1 and 2 social studies at 80 percent.
Wyandotte’s scores stayed consistent with past years, but continued to stay above the county average and at or above the state average. Supt. Patricia Cole said the district currently is analyzing the data to see if any changes need to be made to the curriculum.
In eighth-grade reading, 85 percent scored in the top two levels. Math and science saw 79 percent and 76 percent of eighth-grade students in those two levels.
“I think most people have no idea of the high caliber of this test,” Cole said. “Students are achieving at much higher levels than in the past, and more kids are achieving.”