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
Michigan 3 62.4 63.2
Rochester 4 83.8
Michigan 4 67.7
Rochester 5 88.3
Michigan 5 68.8
Rochester 6 87.3
Michigan 6 67
Rochester 7 84.5
Michigan 7 59.7
Rochester 8 84.6
Michigan 8 60.5

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

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
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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