Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Monique Beels breifed the school board this week on the results of the state's annual MEAP, or Michigan Educational Assessment Program, scores.
The , which was the result of a change at the state level and impacted school districts throughout Michigan. The new "cut scores" are intended to better show the percent of students who are college-ready. The former scoring system, Beels told the board, was based on extremely basic information.
The , generally across the grades and subjects. While the district is always trying to achieve better numbers, at least one area will become a heavy focus for teachers and administrators following the recent release of this year's test scores: Science.
Beels reviewed all of the scores with the board, with the altered scores from last year's test to give an accurate comparison. Most of the tests scores were very similar to last year and generally a few points higher, but in science, the level of proficiency was low.
For grade 5, the number of students considered proficient, and therefore "passing," was 25 percent; for eighth graders, it was 30 percent. The district scored much higher than the state average in all subjects except science, where the scores are still higher but there is not as much of a gap between the numbers.
Beels explained that for the fifth graders, officials are looking into when certain material is being taught. Some of the curriculum presently taught during fifth grade may be taught in fourth grade, she said.
The other issue, she said, is a need to ensure the students are able to apply concepts they learn in the classroom. Both of these will be studied and changes are likely to ensure the science proficiency improves, she said.
One of the long standing criticisms of the MEAP test is that it evaluates the knowledge of students for a particular grade just after they've entered that grade.
For example, the fifth grade science test is checking to see if students have retained science knowledge they are expected to learn during fifth grade. The criticism comes in that the test is administered only about six weeks after school is back in session--when fifth grade students are still transitioning from being fourth graders to fifth graders and just getting heavy into curriculum.
When the state changed the scoring system last year, Grosse Pointe Public School officials began reviewing the changes to ensure curriculum would still be meeting the new requirements. There were not any significant changes, Superintendent Tom Harwood told Patch then, but officials were definitely becoming familar with the changes.
Another area Beels will be reviewing relates to the text books, she said, explaining she wants to make sure the text books are supportive to the curriculum, in particular for science and social studies.
Among other goals Beels said officials are aiming for with next year's MEAP test are to move more students who scored "proficient" this year into the "advanced" rating and moving those from "partially proficient" to "proficient" and so on.
Beels also intends to use the Northwest Education Association, or NWEA, tests for science to help identify areas in the curriculum that need to be addressed. These are tests the district already administered in several subjects to check up on students knowledge and learning.