Cassopolis testing scores on the risePublished 2:07pm Thursday, April 1, 2010
By AARON MUELLER
When looking at the district’s Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) results each year, Cassopolis Public Schools Superintendent Greg Weatherspoon’s eyes immediately go to the red bar.
This red bar of the graph represents students scoring in the bottom quartile.
“When I look across our graph, I want to make sure that red bar is shrinking,” he said.
Consider it mission accomplished this year, as the number of students scoring in the bottom quartile decreased from last year in every category except in middle school math scores, according to Weatherspoon.
Overall, the superintendent is pleased with the 2009 MEAP scores, as many showed improvement from previous years.
“We have a constant forward motion where we are increasing scores,” he said.
The district also bested state averages in percentage of students who met or exceeded the standards in third grade math, sixth grade reading and math, seventh grade reading and ninth grade social studies.
“Looking at the state average is the best thing you can go by,” Weatherspoon said.
Weatherspoon credits the Plan/Do/Check Act (PDCA) in helping to boost the number of students meeting state objectives. The program was brought into all buildings of Cassopolis Public Schools in 2007.
PDCA is data-driven and focuses on helping individual students learn the core curriculum of English, science, math and social studies.
“We give tests to our students 25 times a year,” Weatherspoon said. “They either pass or get more review from teachers.”
Students who do pass move on to enrichment courses, while those who don’t pass get more individualized help to reach state benchmarks.
Weatherspoon says the tests allow students to get familiar with the format of standardized tests.
“Often our students have the knowledge, but the way they ask the questions throw them for a loop,” Weatherspoon said.
One area of concern from the MEAP results is middle school math scores, specifically eighth grade where only 48 percent of students met or exceeded the state standard.
“We are looking at that very closely,” Weatherspoon said. “We will have to focus some additional attention in this area.”
A professor from Western Michigan University will be helping Weatherspoon and the district examine the data closely in order to determine the best way to improve those scores.