Cassopolis looking at improving math scoresPublished 7:55pm Wednesday, March 6, 2013
When DeeAnn Melville-Voss received the Michigan Educational Assessment Program scores released recently, she immediately began poring over the numbers.
What Melville-Voss, director of curriculum and instruction for grades K-6/Title I, found was that Cassopolis improved in its reading and writing scores, but did not do well in math.
So she started to dig deeper and begin to look for the cause for the low numbers. Was it the way the district was teaching math or was it the curriculum itself? Cassopolis’ current curriculum is 11 years old.
“The state has a goal of 100 percent by 2014,” Melville-Voss said. “Even though our scores have gone up, we are not at 100 percent. But we continue to make an increase in our scores, so we are proud at that.
“We are looking at instruction and educational resources that implement the common core for math because that has been our weakest area.”
The numbers bear this out. Cassopolis’ best math results came from its fourth graders at 35.4 percent. That was an increase of 9.8 percent from 2011. Its lowest result was in seventh grade, which had just 15.9 percent meet or exceed the state average. That number was down 4.9 percent from last year’s test.
Cassopolis implemented the Reading/Writing Workshop and has seen significant increases because of that program. Reading numbers were 64.9 percent (third grade), 62.9 percent (fourth grade), 68.5 percent (fifth grade) and 69.6 percent (sixth grade).
“We have seen growth in our reading and writing skills at all levels,” Melville-Voss said. “Where we have problems meeting the state goal we go back and we reteach the areas. In math, because we have had the biggest deficit, we have used Title I money to hire a part-time math teacher for third and fourth grade. At the same time, we just hired Cathy Prestly from Cassopolis. She will be a full-time at-risk math teacher to help students master the areas they are not being successful in.”
Both the part-time instructor and Prestly will work with the students through the rest of the year.
Prestly and Melville-Voss are going to look at the MEAP scores and figure out which kids are at-risk and reteach them and use different tools to teach them.
Prestly, who has been certified in Louisiana, Arizona, Indiana and Michigan, has been teaching for eight years. She has taught first through third, as well as fifth through eighth grades.