By DANIEL HERATY
Results for the fall 2010 Michigan Education Assessment Program scores show Dearborn and Dearborn Heights students in grades three through nine performed best in math and reading.
Those tested in science and social studies met state expectations, but writing scores fell behind.
A six-year Michigan Department of Education comparison of math and reading MEAP scores from third- through eighth-grade students across the state shows proficiency in math grew six to 25 percent, with the largest gains occurring among females, low-income students, those with limited English proficiency and students with disabilities.
During that same period, reading scores rose as much as 9 percent, with the largest gains taking place among low-income students. Students also made gains in fifth and eighth-grade science. Sixth- and ninth-grade social studies scores declined slightly over the six-year period, but have shown increases in two of the past three years.
Crestwood School District third-graders scored the highest in math, with about 99 percent meeting or exceeding state standards.
Dearborn School District Supt. Brian Whiston said he is pleased with the overall results, but remains focused on future scores.
“The MEAP is just one score on one day, but it does give us a chance to look at one of many measures used by school districts to evaluate student learning and the methods used to deliver instruction,” Whiston said in a statement. He added that the scores will be evaluated by the state’s Office of Assessment, with a complete presentation to come at the April 11 Board of Education meeting.
In the same statement, Whiston said the initial scores showed gains in all but four areas compared to last year.
“Looking at how the district’s elementary scores compared to the country, our scores exceeded country averages in all areas for all grades,” he said. “District elementary math scores were higher than the state averages.”
Other subject areas were comparable or slightly lower than the state average.
Dearborn Heights District 7 Assistant Supt. Charlene Coulson said lower scores may be due to changes made in the student proficiency percentage from last year. For instance, a new writing test increased the possible point total from 23 to 50 for students in grades four and seven. It replaced the former test given to all students in grades three through eight.
“Because the test is new,” Michigan Department of Education officials said in a press release, “comparison scores from previous years are not feasible.”
Coulson said the district was happy with the scores, but that there is always room for improvement. She added that the scores help decide from where the next changes will originate.
“We’re always looking to adjust the curriculum,” she said.
Westwood School District Supt. Susan Carnell said officials there are encouraged by the upward trend in scores.
“We’re pleased with our steady growth,” she said.
Crestwood School District Supt. Laurine VanValkenburg said scores in her district reflect improvements that need to be made.
“We’re a work in progress,” she said.
(Daniel Heraty can be reached at [email protected].)