The Michigan Department of Education released results from the March testing on Thursday.
“The Michigan Merit Exam is one test on one day,” said Grand Haven Area Public Schools curriculum specialist Mary Jane Evink. “We take into account many different forms of assessment when we evaluate our students' performance.”
Grand Haven High School 11th-graders who took the exam in March gained a percentage point in math scores, but took a step back in other areas.
Even though the state changed its scoring methods, Grand Haven school officials tried to calculate apples to apples. Compared to last year, Grand Haven's science scores dropped from 43 to 39 percent, social studies from 62 to 59 percent, reading from 74 to 69 percent and writing from 63 to 55 percent.
Evink said the writing scores were particularly troublesome.
“That was our greatest drop,” she said. “We have been focused on writing very sincerely, and I mean focused, for the last five years. We saw some steady gains. Why it dropped this year is frustrating. Writing is a critical skill for college and career readiness. We know this and we're not going to disappoint our community. The only thing I can say is we're above the state averages and we're not giving up.”
Spring Lake High School juniors posted gains in every category except writing, where they slipped one point, to 77 percent, from last year's scores, Superintendent Dennis Furton said. Reading scores in Spring Lake went from 77 to 84 percent proficient, math from 50 to 54, science from 46 to 58 and social studies from 61 to 70.
“We're very pleased with our results,” Furton said. “The credit goes to our outstanding teachers and students who continue to perform at the highest possible level.”
Furton said he's not concerned about the dip in writing proficiency.
“We'd love to continue to see an increase, but 77 percent proficient is a very high number,” he said.
To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.