On Friday, the Michigan Department of Education released results from the state assessment, which tests students in grades 3-8 on what they learned the previous year.
Throughout the state, fourth-grade reading proficiency increased from 68.1 percent proficient in 2012 to 70 percent in 2013. Sixth-grade social studies scores dropped about four points statewide to 26.5 percent proficient.
A press release from the state education department notes that fall 2013 was the final year of the MEAP test, and a new assessment will be administered next spring.
Fruitport Community Schools Superintendent Bob Szymoniak said his district has focused on improving student proficiency in math, which is reflected through Fruitport Middle School’s MEAP scores.
Although Szymoniak said he’s pleased with the middle school scores, Fruitport administrators are going to study why elementary math proficiency dropped. Sixth-grade math proficiency increased from about 30.6 percent to 45.4 percent in 2013, and third-grade proficiency dropped from 44.8 percent in 2012 to about 39.9 percent last fall.
Reading scores for Fruitport’s third-, fifth-, sixth- and seventh-graders also declined this year. Szymoniak said he hasn’t yet had time to analyze why the scores dropped, but they plan to address their students’ reading proficiency.
The Fruitport district is in the process of implementing a program to identify struggling students in any subject, and then develop intervention strategies to help them improve.
“My hope is that the program will address any drop in scores into the future,” Szymoniak said.
Mary Jane Evink, curriculum specialist for Grand Haven Area Public Schools, said the district’s use of math intervention programs helped increase student proficiency in grades 4-8.
Evink said they placed a focus on improving students’ understanding of math content after previously seeing an “unfavorable” trend with math scores. For example, educators determined that fourth-graders struggled with fractions, which was taught at the end of the year. This year, they moved the unit toward the beginning of the year so teachers have more time to reinforce the lessons.
Additionally, the Grand Haven district saw an increase in science scores. Evink said the increase in math and science test scores will lead students to be more successful, especially with “science, technology, engineering and math” (S.T.E.M.) careers.
Scott Ely, curriculum director for Spring Lake Public Schools, said the test scores are reflective of where the district has made investments, such as reading. For example, the district has aligned the reading curriculum to new standards, implemented a readers’ workshop, devoted reading time and established reading intervention programs.
Spring Lake fourth-grade reading proficiency rose from 89.5 percent in 2012 to 93.4 percent in the latest report.
To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.