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Rochester Students Score Well Above State Average in All MEAP Subjects

Some scores dropped in comparison to last year, reflecting new, more rigorous standards for standardized test.

Rochester students scored a higher level of proficiency in every grade level and every subject than students statewide, according to the 2011 MEAP results released Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Education.

In fact, in many grades and subjects, the percentage of student proficiency in Rochester was more than twice that of students across Michigan.

Compared to 2010 scores, which were adjusted using the state's new "cut scores," Rochester saw positive gains in social studies, eighth-grade science and most grades in reading and math.

The biggest drops in Rochester scores from 2010 to 2011 were shown in writing (which is tested in fourth and seventh grades) and third-grade reading and math.

The drop can be explained in part by the new "cut scores" for the MEAP that the state adopted last year. With these more rigorous cut scores, students need to get roughly 65 percent of the answers correct to pass the state test, instead of only 39 percent that was the previous benchmark.

So the actual measurement of proficiency has changed dramatically.

The new cut scores better reflect how well schools are preparing students for success at the next grade level and whether all Michigan students are progressing at a level sufficient for them to be career- and college-ready when they complete their high school education, according to the Department of Education. These scores have been retroactively applied to MEAP results from 2010.

A districtwide email sent last week helped prepare Rochester parents for the release of the test scores.

"Rochester Community Schools has always set a high bar for student achievement, and we welcome this renewed focus from Lansing," the email stated. "While we anticipated an initial decline in the number of students reported as 'proficient,' we are confident this change will be temporary due to ongoing school improvement efforts and student support. In fact, we are pleased to report that Rochester Community Schools students showed improvement over last year’s scores in most areas."

The district email also noted this: "If your student is reported as 'not proficient,' it does not mean that your student isn't gaining academic skills or is falling behind. It means that on the day of the test, your student was not yet proficient on the material being tested. Several other measures are used in our district throughout the year to insure that your student is making academic progress."

Those measures include informal and formal classroom assessments, ability tests and college readiness assessments such as Advanced Placement, EXPLORE, PLAN and ACT.

"We have a lot of room to grow, but this is a positive step," state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan said. "I am very confident that we have professionals in our classrooms who will continue to step up to the challenge of preparing our students to achieve at higher levels."

MEAP reading

Here's a look, grade by grade, at the percentage of students testing proficient or advanced in the reading portion of the test.


Grade 2011 2010 Change Rochester 3 77.7
82.2
-4.5
Michigan 3 62.4 63.2
-0.8
Rochester 4 83.8
83.6
-0.2
Michigan 4 67.7
63.5
4.2
Rochester 5 88.3
87.4
0.9
Michigan 5 68.8
65.3
3.5
Rochester 6 87.3
83.9
3.4
Michigan 6 67
63.2
3.8
Rochester 7 84.5
80.4
4.1
Michigan 7 59.7
55.6
4.1
Rochester 8 84.6
82
2.6
Michigan 8 60.5
56
4.5

MEAP math

Here's a look, grade by grade, at the percentage of students testing proficient or advanced in the math portion of the test.


Grade 2011 2010 Change Rochester 3 64 67.4 -3.4
Michigan 3
36.3 34.9 1.4
Rochester 4 74.8 74.6 0.2
Michigan 4 39.9 39.6 0.3
Rochester 5 81.3 79.7 1.6
Michigan 5 39.6 38.5 1.1
Rochester 6 73.2 72.3 0.9
Michigan 6 37.1 36.2 0.9
Rochester 7 75.8 73.5 2.3
Michigan 7 37.2 35.9 1.3
Rochester 8 55.7 61.3 -5.6
Michigan 8 29.4 28.9 0.5

MEAP writing

Here's a look, grade by grade, at the percentage of students testing proficient or advanced in the writing portion of the test.


Grade 2011 2010 Change Rochester 4 70.2 75.7 -5.5
Michigan 4 44.5 47.2 -2.7
Rochester 7 73.9 75.6 -1.7
Michigan 7 47.3 47.8 -0.5

MEAP science

Here's a look, grade by grade, at the percentage of students testing proficient or advanced in the science portion of the test.


Grade 2011 2010 Change Rochester 5 39.7 40.4 -0.7
Michigan 5 15.3
17.4 -2.1
Rochester 8 36 31.4 4.6
Michigan 8 16.5 14.9 1.6

MEAP social studies

Here's a look, grade by grade, at the percentage of students testing proficient or advanced in the social studies portion of the test.


Grade 2011 2010 Change Rochester 6 56.3 51.9 4.4
Michigan 6 27.7 28.1 -0.4
Rochester 9 60.8 60.1 0.7
Michigan 9 28.7 33.2 -4.5

Source: Michigan Department of Education

Marie February 16, 2012 at 04:54 PM
To Timothy, if I were you I would consider a private, charter, or homeschool situation for your gifted and highly talented daughter so that you can avoid the very mediocrity you are currently writing about. Mediocrity seems to be exactly what most of this is about. Instead of dwelling on teaching to a test, new curriculum, and scores, Rochester should be taking a good look at expanding upon critical thinking. If people can't think critically all the test scores in the world won't make a difference. Just look at the state this country is in -- the proof is in the pudding.
Joshua Raymond February 16, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Good is the enemy of great. We want our schools to be great. Are our schools failing? Well, apparently they are for some students if you go on MEAP data. But I want to see growth data. I'm not foolish enough to believe that we can get all 14,000 students proficient in every subject. There are just some students that don't have the capacity, but they still deserve a strong education that helps them grow every year. I've written about the MEAP in the past. In http://rochestersage.org/2011/01/14/the-meek-meap/ , I talked about raising the cut scores and how the MEAP influences classroom education and in http://rochestersage.org/2011/02/14/higher-meap-cut-scores-and-what-still-needs-to-be-done/ , I address some of what still needs to be done and how the MEAP can hurt students at the high and low ends of the spectrum.
Marie February 16, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Daryl, Thanks, but I actually had no idea nor did I care about what was on the MEAP/MME, ACT, or any other test. I simply allowed my children to think and taught them to the best of my ability and resources at the time. On the other hand, I have to admit that I must have put some value in the tests, as I made sure my children took standardized tests throughout their education. It was just a fact that they would have to face those situations so why hide from it. However, I'm just saying It is very hard to measure "the whole child" or particular school in a setting of so many based on one test. We both do respectfully agree that tests are not the only evaluator, but it is a factor that has to be taken into some consideration. It would take far more time, resources, and energy than anyone has to evaluate, follow through, and categorize students. That being said, I do have respect for teachers. They face a hard road and many parents aren't involved, which is key to this picture. The debate goes on....
Mike Reno February 16, 2012 at 05:28 PM
One example of the district’s failure can be seen in the Midwest Academic Talent Search, or MATS test. Younger students can take above grade level tests in order to better understand their strengths / weaknesses. Great for some (but probably not all) students. We started in 3rd grade. Our daughter has taken the ACT Explore several times, as well as the SAT. She took the ACT in 7th, and again last Saturday. Great experiences! It's provided guidance on what sorts of literature to encourage, as well has helped us to properly gauge her strengths in Math and Science. She scored a 25 on the ACT in 7th grade. She did not score that BECAUSE of the school; she scored it IN SPITE OF the school. Troy informs parents of the opportunity. Rochester remains silent. Not only do they ignore the test… they also ignore the data they receive. They stand in the way of students who try to get ahead. 4 years ago, 33% of the district’s 8th graders were taking Geometry. This year it’s less than 5%. (The district’s “experts” advised my daughter to take pre-algebra in 7th grade. We vetoed that, and had her take Algebra. She’s a successful freshman in Algebra II now. The district knows they have a bogus entrance test, yet they continue to administer it.) Point is that we are trying to help our daughter achieve her potential… not simply be “good enough” by some low district standards. It's puzzling why people fight this.
Mike Reno February 16, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Joshua... unbelievable. I found this on the district website. Wow. Makes sense why some might be concerned about the cut score. Of course, I know that not all of the grading scales are like that. We had this debate a few years back, when they were contemplating lowering the grading scale. (http://k12reformer.blogspot.com/2009/12/come-to-rochester-our-as-are-easier.html) It was nothing like what I see below, and was much like you described in your post. However, this is on the website, and is apparently the standard for some of our students. (from http://www.rochester.k12.mi.us/van-hoosen-middle-school/pages/7161/kosuda) Students who receive an 88% or better as the average from the Astronomy Test and the Geology Test will receive an A for the semester. Students who receive a 80% or better will receive an A- for the semester. Students who receive 76% or better will receive a B+ for the semester. Students who receive 70% or better will receive a B for the semester. Students who receive 66% or better will receive a B- for the semester. Students who receive 60% or better will receive a C+ for the semester Students who receive 56% or better will receive a C for the semester. Students who receive less that 56% will receive a C- for the semester.
Mike Reno February 16, 2012 at 06:11 PM
This page seemed to list the "standard" Rochester grading scale: Marking Period Grading: The marking period grade is calculated using the standard RCS grading scale: A 95-100%, A- 90-94%, B+ 87-89%, B 83-86%, B- 80-82%, C+ 77-79%, C 73-76%, C- 70-72%, D+ 67-69%, D 63-66%, D- 60-62%, E 0-59% (http://www.rochester.k12.mi.us/rochester-high-school/pages/46379/guitar)
Mike Reno February 16, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Last one... http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-admissions/437358-what-your-high-school-grading-scale.html Other schools seem to more closely align with your standards, Joshua. It's amazing, incidentally, how this grading scale information is not readily available on district websites. Not on Rochester, Troy, Bloomfield, Birmingham, etc.
Scot Beaton February 16, 2012 at 06:59 PM
RH Mom, as kid I also suffered from test anxiety. Back in the day...the 60's all students in the Bloomfield Hills school system in Junior High I think it was the 7 grade as I remember took an "IQ" test; the school system would "test" and determine what direction their students should take... the assembly line in a car plant or college. Well I look at this foreboding test read the storys and filed in all those little black squares anyway I felt like. My test scores came back and my "IQ" was 55 the school system was amazed I had made it to the 7 grade. Well thank God I have loving parents who said NO to the school system "our son is going to college." They sent me off to a Psychiatrist to have my head examined. LOL She spent quite a few hours with me over about a weeks time... we did all kinds of tests some written, some were oral tests. The results "problem solving, able to come up with the right solution" I scored the highest IQ 165, the rest of my scores average between 120-129. Needless to say my mom through that up in the principals face and I went on to college. RM Mom I concur test scores should only be part of the equation in "grading" school systems. They have become one of those "necessary evils" that can affect your home's value. P.S. just for the record I was not a "rich kid" you could buy a house in Foxcroft, Maple and Telegraph for under $15,000 grand back then, Bloomfield Township was in the middle of nowhere. Patch thanks for the post.
Scot Beaton February 16, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Laurie... Yes I concur 100%. Our Rochester area is going to have to fight quite the battle to win over upscale home buyers over the next decade... Southeastern MI is not growing, were not the sunbelt etc. and one sure way to kill home values is "poor test grades" in our public school system. Laurie what's important here is how our school system stacks up to town's like Bloomfield and Birmingham MI. Thanks for your post.
Scot Beaton February 16, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Daryl, thanks for the post; I would agree "testing" has many flaws. But they exist and the two of us... last I checked, we can't change the system... neither one of us is president of the united states or the governor. LOL Daryl your a problem solver your a capitalist believe in free markets, so am I. We need to think of the City of Rochester Hills as a business and our homeowners are shareholders competing with other towns like Bloomfield for home values. This is war... let's stop all the fluff about ourselves and wake up... I will not be satisfied with our public school system until it out scores towns like Northville or Bloomfield, and if it takes lighting a fire under some parents --- I don't have a problem with that either...do you concur?
Joshua Raymond February 16, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Scot, BOE meetings are often more poorly attended that RH City Council meetings. Coffee with the Superintendent, a great time to chat directly with Mr. Clarke, usually get 6 or fewer people. There needs to be better communication between the teachers and the parents for parents to really be able to help significantly at home - and even then many probably wouldn't do much more. Many people have ceded education completely over to the schools. They place the responsibility solely on the teacher. And some teachers seem to encourage this. On the Facebook education groups I belong to, a constant complaint is teachers who assert their credentials when parents try to work with them to set up appropriate education plans. These are parents who want to get involved who feel that doors have been slammed in their faces. Many end up homeschooling when they can't get cooperation. The entire dynamic is messed up. Parents need to become involved with their children's education and some teachers need to see this as a resource instead of a threat. I really liked Mrs. Moore's idea for Student Education Plans with parents, teachers, and students signing off on an individual plan. Parents & students should have a written commitment to keep them involved and teachers should provide the information that allows them to be. Any public school system that can get parents working diligently with teachers will have great success in many areas and standardized testing will reflect this.
Karen Lorenz February 16, 2012 at 09:12 PM
If tests aren't the only way to judge if a child is learning. How come so much weight is put on the ACT test for college acceptance? Is there equal weight given to the grades a student receives for their classes? I don't know because I don't have high school students yet. Just curious.
Scot Beaton February 16, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Joshua... thanks for your response... like I said this is just as much about the parents as the school system, and the parents need to get more involved with their kids and their school system if they give a --- about homevalues. Times have changed since the 60's, my mom insisted in seeing all my homework before I went to bed every night, and I was not allowed to "sleep" until it was done to her satisfaction. She also was a substitute teacher in the Birmingham school system, she taught drama and english grammar. Very lucky to have her for mom; Carol and Ian Beaton are still alive and well living in Tucson Arizona they met in a typing class a Northwestern University Evanston IL.
Lisa Taddiken February 16, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Karen, the ACT test was designed as a standardized measurement of college readiness. In answer to your question about college acceptance; most colleges take a holistic approach in the admissions process meaning that they look at grades, test scores, extra curricular involvement, and overall strength of the high school academic program. Those test scores do begin to carry a lot of weight when it comes down to scholarships though. Students can take the ACT several times and only submit their best scores in order to compete for financial offers directly from a college. They do, however, need to substantiate that score with a GPA within the expected range for a particular score. In my experience I have seen students who have scored above 25, even as high as 32, who have not been as successful as students who have scored as low as 19. In other words, tests are not the final measure of a student's long term success.
Daryl Patrishkoff February 16, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Scot, Of course I concur; the first part is fiscal responsibility with a plan that is sustainable. We should run the public sector like most of the private sector, hold them accountable to real measures of success. Also do not spend money you do not have and if you have a surplus, save it for a rainy day. This article is about the MEAP scores and what the data is telling us. I really think it is telling us we have a problem, so let’s solve the problem. Many posts talk about parent involvement, that is a no-brainer, reinforcement at home with what the schools are teaching will go a long way to learning. Teaching the key elements of the MEAP test to prepare the students for the subjects addressed. Have practice exams so they can learn how to take a test without pressure, then when the real test happens they are prepared. Add critical thinking and problem solving with real projects to learn how to apply the key elements. Like him or not, Gov Snyder has the State with a budget without gimmicks in record time, a surplus he will not spend just because it is there. He now wants to give out additional school funding for performance which is based on key metrics. This is holding our educators accountable; a great teacher will not have a problem with this. This is the business approach and how our Governor thinks. I happen to agree with his approach.
Marty Rosalik February 16, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Marie: Long story. My daughter was one of a few "advanced" science students chosen by teachers and counselors in her Freshmen year to attend OCALP I believe it stands for Oakland Center for Accelerated Learning Program or something like that. OCC went to many school districts in Oakland County to get interest in getting students in high school interested in courses during summers. RCS could only send 5. She was lucky and taking the most advanced science track RCS had to offer. (at the time) First year they had Nano-Technology and metalurgy. Second summer english and another science course linked for writing development. It was a summer only program and by the third year the Junior level student was allowed even at 16 years old to enroll in REAL college level courses like Gen Chem and what used to be ENG 151. So by the start of this Senior year she had transferrable credits in Chemistry and English that OU, Michigan, State, Grand Valley, Tcch, and any other North Central acredited university accepts. This way she could keep challenging coursework and spread the load. So she had OCC credits before taking ACT. I hope that helps answer your question.
Marty Rosalik February 17, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Clara that was the ONLY positive thing he did. Some day I will tell you the story of Rochester 20-20"s largest money contributor and publication (direct mail )coordinator.
Marty Rosalik February 17, 2012 at 02:07 AM
Jeremy I have a little time to respond to this. "It's quite a shame that you would actively work against getting more parents involved in helping raise the bar - to raise these scores and improve our ranking in the state." I assume that you say that because I opposed Mike most of the time. If that were what Mike and yourself were doing you would have a point. I'm all for parental involvement. 1) I used a week of vacation every year to voulnteer in K through 4th grade classrooms. I'm proud of this "herding cats" service to my children and other children in the district. 2) Active in PTA and was Vice President at Baldwin for 2 years. As such we did intensive fund raising. Parents built the new playground we all raised funds for. A community effort. I mixed cement! Other funding we did was to bring the newest Kindergarden room up equivalent in all the EXTRA stuff a cut budget could never buy. The other two teachers had 20 to 30 years of accumulated teaching stuff, the stuff teachers pay for out of pocket. So we got the new teacher "caught up". 3) In 4th through 8th grade I put my personal liability on-the-line and drove, chaperoned field trips using the volunteer form and my personal car. Again putting myself at risk for others benefit. 4) Worked on three budget study committiees from 2000 to 2010. Task, finding ways to save the district money. I've been involved in raising the bar. More than you can understand.
Jeremy Nielson February 17, 2012 at 03:52 AM
I guess I'm having a hard time following your arguments... ... We shouldn't worry about raising the test scores, because your daughter got a 32 on the ACT and is doing very well. "Sorry your results suck." (The results for thousands of other kids in the district). ... We shouldn't worry about getting more parents involved in the district because you were very involved and did a lot of stuff ( -- thanks for volunteering, regardless). ... You oppose Mike, and by your own words: "You may have noticed...I will do almost anything to STOP you from screwing it up! You are and have been a threat to a good system. Just my opinion here. Just my passion to protect something I see as good and wholesome." It's okay to be bitter, but it doesn't add up. You say "I'm all for parental involvement", but then shout down Mike's comment about how the district missed an opportunity to get parents involved... Because "I will do almost anything to STOP you from screwing it up! You are and have been a threat to a good system." So getting back on track, this entire long "he said, she said" drama isn't about you - or Mike - or how the MEAP scores relate to a grading scale. It's that if we want our kids to do better in our schools, we HAVE to pull together as parents and community members and make it so. This was a missed opportunity for our district, to perhaps redirect attention from the next fun run and focus perhaps a little harder on academics.
Marty Rosalik February 17, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Jeremy, as usual you missed the point so I will spell it out clear. If my kid has the opportunity to do well so does yours. Everyone for that matter. If I can make time to be an involved parent so can you. So do it! Republican parties don't educate kids. I put my own REAL results out there for emphasis. Not for drama. If you would spend time in an actual classroom instead of on blogs and pompous podium appearances you too could see the difficult task and frankly slow process to raise these scores. You too could see the dozens of other things that need improvement in the district. But you won't will you? You go on and on about parental involvement as if the district can mandate it. Yet none of you get involved in RCS classrooms. For years MEAP scores were scoffed upon. Now all of a sudden they mean something to some of you? The "drama" is ALL your doing. Since you have chosen to take an attack like stance here with me I ask the following of you. How did those election petition signature challenges you filed at county and state levels improve the district? How much tax payer money was wasted on your snipe hunts by county and state election officials? Yes I knew long before the election about them and chose to say nothing because I saw you as a nice guy. I saw no reason to smear you then so STOP it with me!
Joshua Raymond February 17, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Marty, I am very glad that the schools in the district have worked well for you and your children. I wish that everyone had that experience. Mrs. Moore has expressed a desire to change this from a district of schools to a school district, but so much still depends on which schools kids go to and which teachers they have. You can get a school that sorts and sifts through the data to figure out if certain teachers are better teaching certain subjects or certain groups and then uses the data to organize instruction that way - or a school that goes mostly on gut and teacher recommendations. You can get a learning consultant that sees gifted children as succeeding when they get 100%'s - or you can get a learning consultant that sees students getting 100%'s as unchallenged and needing an advanced curriculum. You can get a teacher who works closely with parents and wants them in the classroom - or you can get a teacher who doesn't collaborate with parents and turns down their help because they might question what they see happening in the classroom. You can get a PTA that is very active and has many afterschool activities for kids - or a PTA that doesn't do much. You can have parents who always step up to help and enrich the classroom, participate in activities, or work for change - or parents who don't. You may be happy with how our schools worked for you - but others might not be. And sometimes their answers on how to fix things won't be the same as yours.
Mike Reno February 17, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Jeremy… what gives? Normally Marty reserves his mud pellets for me! :-) If MEAP scores were “scoffed at” in the past, it might’ve been because of the absurd 39% cut scores. And nobody is trying to elevate their status now. They are just one element to consider. They are still just a measure of the district’s ability to help children achieve the bare minimum, and in fact for some children they are entirely irrelevant. The reason they are gaining a little more attention now is that the results seem to more accurately reflect the big job ahead of the district. Joshua has some good commentary… hopefully Marty will read it. Perhaps Marty’s confusion stems from his view of success. I’m frustrated with the lack of challenge in many courses, along with pockets of lackluster curriculum, and to some extent, some teacher issues. Some are VERY good… some not so much. So my child… and other children… can go through a class, earn “A’s”, perform well on standardized tests that measure bare minimums, but still not gain much. That is not success. I spent a lot of years “volunteering” on the board, trying to fix that… with much of the effort being devoted to battling the Marty “good enough” mindset.
Marty Rosalik February 17, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Thank you Joshua. I fully understand that others will NOT have my experience. I will share with you that both my children are doing very well. (today) That was not always true. I ran into almost everything you describerd so well above. That said, the individual parent and student need to make great results happen. Everything above has a human element. I wish I could impose statistical process controls like I do on automobile parts. Sadly I can not. So just like you as an individual may have to second guess or seek a second/third medical opinion... so goes excelence in education. Politicians will not and can not fix this.
Clara T February 17, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Mr. Rosalik: You say the schools were good for your kids because you volunteered which assured that your kids’ needs were met. This is a circular argument. Yet what’s really curious is how (or why?) you deny others the same option by routinely condemning those who also volunteer in order to make things better. In this thread you take rude potshots at individuals who volunteer plenty of personal time and treasure in the effort to strengthen local schools. You even go so far as to suggest that their volunteerism is somehow “screwing things up”. Your comment “the individual parent and student need to make great results happen” is revealing for its shortsighted, self-serving perspective. Obviously, engaged, informed parents play a vital role, but facilitating your every-man-for-himself approach diminishes the schools' greater potential, and will not serve countless parents and students who lack your resources or connections. The scope of needs in a school district with 14 thousand students is much broader than the perspective and experience of one individual, yet you portray your insider angle as omniscient. Expanding opportunity to serve those wide-ranging needs through an academically nimble school district committed to transparency and accountability ought to be the community’s highest priority. Criticizing those who strive to make a good district better is badly misguided and discourages public involvement when it is needed most.
Marie February 17, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Just throwing this out there to give perspective as to the bigger picture. This is from the Rochester Community Schools website "Graduation rate of 93.14% with 95% of our graduates attending post-secondary schools" (Of course, the goal should be 100% but stay with me). If the MEAP scores are the end all, as some are portraying; then how does Rochester end up with a 93% overall graduation rate with 95% of those students continuing with some form of secondary education? The MEAP scores certainly don't reflect that potential. In fact, the numbers are incongruent . Too many conclusions are being made because of a subjective a test made up by a panel of pencil/paper pushers who haven't been in a classroom for year. It does not compare apples to apples, as in following the same students each year to measure progress. Combine that with the fact that the tests are revamped each year and you have teachers hopping all over the place trying to keep up with the expected changes. This is not education, these are number games. Instead of so much money, time, and energy being spent on jumping through the state's hoops maybe everyone should just move forward and, as mentioned. Parents should start getting more involved. Back in the day, parents used to come in on a daily basis and help in the classrooms and students had a modicum of respect for authority and their peers. There is far more to worry about here than ambiguous MEAP scores.
Marty Rosalik February 17, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Clara, Where did I say "results were assured"? I got involved to help the outcome. There are no guarntees. You say. "Expanding opportunity to serve those wide-ranging needs through an academically nimble school district committed to transparency and accountability ought to be the community’s highest priority" Agreed. Now get specific. Such as but not limited to. 1) Well defined problem statement. 2) Goals with roll out timelines and measurable feedback to drive that "accountability". 3) Define those potentials. Go back to (2) for accountability. 4) Back up plan and action items to adapt to things like the state reducing funding mid-year. You say "The scope of needs in a school district with 14 thousand students is much broader than the perspective and experience of one individual" yet you ahng your hat on ONE individual. Who is circummambulating?
Mike Reno February 17, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Hi Marie. MEAP is certainly not "the end all". If I somehow gave that impression, then allow me to correct it! MEAP is meaningless for many children; particularly those at the higher end. MEAP does provide a GLIMPSE or clue as to how many MAY BE at risk. Some small percentage of the "NOT PROFICIENT" may simply be poor test takers, or were sick, or whatever other reason people like to offer. Pick a percentage... 10% of them... whatever... and say that they are really are "PROFICIENT". The remainder is still a pretty large block of kids. They didn't just miss a handful of things... they miss A THIRD of the questions. These results tell us there is a group of kids who require more than what we are presently offering. Also, MEAP is not a predictor of potential success in college. The ACT College Readiness Benchmarks are more statistically accurate. Rochester stats suggest less than half our children leave being adequately prepared to get a "C" or better on college-level work. Finally, the line you reference from the district is flawed in several ways. They say "post-secondary"... which can include community college, not a university. Not that there is anything wrong with CC... it's just not the same rigor. And the statement does not consider the level of remedial work our students may require, leading to extra cost, 5 (or more) years of college, or perhaps dropout. The district refuses to seek matriculation information from the universities.
Scot Beaton February 17, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Wow... some of these comments are incredible why would you use your own kids names they have their own lives... did you every think they don't want to be involved in this discussion. This is about grading public schools and funding; not them. And the personal banter stop this is about kids... please! One who comes from Rochester Hills city council day's I was warned not to step into the world of public schools, now I can see why. I'm sorry would be maybe a smart move for some of you to say. Let's get back to the facts... went to the public school website... where's the budget why is this not big on the front page, I want to read it! How much dose the state pay, how much does the local tax payer pay...? I want to know, spelled out line item by line item. I want to know every full and part time salary. Parent involvement... put a live camera in every class room put it on line, this is public money where is the transparency. If the teachers don't like that idea tell them go teach in a private school. Note: Michigan has 83 counties and 550 public school districts, sounds like to me Michigan public schools need to first get rid of a lot of BS at the top, and spend that waste of money on creating small classrooms... would be a great first step in fixing this mess.
Clara T February 17, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Amen.
Marie February 18, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Mike and Scott, Your comments are spot on which is why I pointed out the discrepancy between the district's statistics and the numbers from preceding state tests. And Scott is right in pointing out that the BS is trickling down from the top; taxpayers should be outraged. That aside, yes, the core issue here is that there are too many children being left behind. But again, too much money, time, and energy is being spent on administration, these tests and the results. Here is an interesting article that supports my arguments against testing. It's worth the read, even for those who disagree. As mentioned in the article, even institutions admit that college readiness tests are not a predictor of success and yet admissions officers do not have the time to over evaluate each student who applies. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/15/beyond-sats-finding-success-in-numbers/?scp=1&sq=POSSE&st=cse As for the answer to the immediate problem regarding the middle group of students who are often ignored in lieu of addressing the most needy and most gifted ends of the spectrums - again, the state and the district need to start spending more money on the students and less on administrative BS. It is crucial for parents, mentors, and community members to not only get involved but to demand some answers and effect real change. If it can be done in inner cities such as the one the article cites, it can certainly be done here in good old Rochester.

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