Schools get graded

Michigan’s high school juniors are making academic strides, according to the 2014 Michigan Merit Exam results, but it’s a mixed bag locally.
Krystle Wagner
Jul 8, 2014

The state’s Department of Education recently released results for the exam that was administered to 11th-graders in the spring. Juniors statewide improved 5.3 points in social studies and 5.2 points in reading, to reach 43.9 and 58.7 percent proficient, respectively. Math and writing scores remained about the same at 28.8 proficient and 50.8 percent proficient, respectively.

The test consists of the ACT Plus Writing college entrance exam; WorkKeys job skills assessments in reading, math and locating information; and Michigan-developed assessments in math, science and social studies.

While Fruitport Community Schools’ math proficiency remained about the same at 20 percent, writing and reading scores jumped 19 points and 8 points, to 63 and 42 percent, respectively.

Fruitport Superintendent Bob Szymoniak said he is thrilled with his district’s improvements. He said Fruitport High school staff has worked hard to promote literacy throughout all subjects.

“It’s clearly paying off,” Szymoniak said.

The Fruitport district saw a 4-point increase in science scores to 24 percent proficient and a 15-point jump to 54 percent proficient in social studies.

As they prepare for the upcoming school year, Szymoniak said his staff will work with the district’s new curriculum director, Allison Camp, to look for additional ways to fine-tune the success they’ve achieved the past two years.

Throughout the past year, secondary education staff at Grand Haven Area Public Schools has transitioned into a reading and writing workshop model that increases critical thinking and instructor feedback. Mary Jane Evink, the district’s curriculum specialist, said she believes they are starting to see the benefits of that style of instruction as reading and writing proficiency rates each increased 5 points to 75 and 64 percent, respectively.

The Grand Haven district’s science proficiency remained stable at 39 percent.

Read the complete story in today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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