Test scores reveal 'room for improvement'

Published 1:46 pm Thursday, April 1, 2010

Edwardsburg Argus

Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) testing results are in and school officials are going over the scores.

Area districts are reviewing just how their students in grades 3-9 fared, tested in areas including science, reading, math and social studies.

“As we’ve reviewed them overall, I’m pleased,” Edwardsburg Public Schools Superintendent Sherman Ostrander said. “There are a couple of concerns.”

The tests focus on whether or not students are meeting state standards and vary year to year in regard to the objectives covered within those subjects.

Overall, Edwardsburg results show many students scored above the state average.

Still, in one particular area – eighth grade reading – students scored below the state average with 80 percent of students meeting or exceeding state standards compared to the state average of 83 percent.

Ostrander saw the score as reason for concern.

The score, he said, “for the first time is at a level that I will tell you very sharply is not acceptable,” he said. “We’ll spend as much time in this one area to figure out what’s going on.”

Results showed more than 90 percents of students in their respective grades met or exceeded state standards in third, fourth and fifth grade reading and math, fifth grade science and seventh grade math.

Ostrander said that while the district received an “overall outstanding rating,” sights were still set on “going after perfection.”

“I’d like to be right up there near, if not right on top,” he said. “We’re not displeased. We just have a very high level of expectation.”

Other districts are also reviewing their results and commenting on the effect future budget cuts could have on the ability to provide programs that enhance their students’ ability to learn.

Niles Community Schools is celebrating after scoring above the state average in every category for the first time ever.

“Our performance on this year’s MEAP test reflects years of good work by the staff in improving curriculum and improving our instruction,” Superintendent Doug Law said. “We couldn’t be happier.”

It’s a positive shot in the arm for the district which has been working, as many districts throughout the country, under a dark cloud of impending budget cuts.

But district curriculum director Jim Craig said that shot in the arm is bittersweet.

“This is validation for everyone from school board members, administrators and school staff that what we’re doing is working,” he said. “And sure, that makes you feel good. However, it also makes you feel extra bad that some of the things we’re doing that brought us to this point are going to go away.”