Math scores up, others show minor change

LANSING, Mich. – Math scores rose while language arts, science and social studies scores showed little change in statewide results from this year’s Michigan Educational Assessment Program tests, according to a report from the Michigan Department of Education and media reports.

More than 75 percent of students in grades 3-8 tested as “proficient or above” on the math tests given in the fall of 2008, the report said. Third-graders posted the highest number, at 91 percent proficient or better, while seventh-graders showed the most math improvement, with 83 percent rated proficient or better this year compared to 73 percent a year ago. Test results are reported in four categories: Not Proficient, Partially Proficient, Proficient and Advanced.

Reading proficiency showed little change, except among seventh-graders, who moved from a total of 72 percent proficient or above to 79 percent, the report showed. Third grade also posted the highest reading scores, at 87 percent proficiency statewide. Science and social science showed little change across the grades, with no variations of more than 2 percentage points from a year ago.

Writing was the weakest link; scores rose by an average 2.5 percentage points across all grades, but overall proficiency ranged from only 44 percent in fourth grade to 78 percent in seventh grade. Also, only about 5 percent of the total elementary population earned an “advanced score” on the writing test, the report shows.

“Certainly, this is great news,” State Board of Education President Kathleen N. Straus was quoted in a department press release. “We have raised our standards and more of our students are achieving them.”

Proficiency levels are a major part in determining if schools make adequate yearly progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Michigan Department of Education, “State test scores show increase in math for fourth straight year,” April 2, 2008

Michigan Education Digest, “MEAP writing test written off,” March 31, 2009