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But scores are dismal and achievement gaps remain
Student achievement on the 2012 Michigan Merit Examination (MME) shows positive one-year gains and even larger four-year gains in mathematics, reading, writing, and science, the Michigan Department of Education reported Thursday, June 28, 2012. The overall composite scores for Michigan high school juniors on the ACT college-entrance exam also increased for the fourth consecutive year, as did the percentage of Michigan students who are career- and college-ready.
“Building a stronger and more vibrant future for Michigan begins in the classrooms across this state,” said Governor Rick Snyder. “We must equip students with the skills to succeed in this global economy. While we have more work to do, our state is moving in the right direction. Let’s continue to build on these achievements for the good of our state and our children.”
The largest gains on the MME occurred in reading and writing. Reading saw an average one-year increase of 3 percent and a four-year increase of nearly 7 percent; writing saw an average one-year increase of 2.5 percent and an average four-year increase of 6 percent. These increases resulted in 55.9 percent of tested students attaining proficiency in reading and 49.5 percent attaining proficiency in writing statewide.
Mathematics and science also showed positive gains, with mathematics increasing an average of 1.8 percent over last year and 3.4 percent over the past four years (for a 2012 average percent proficiency rate of 29.1 percent statewide); and science increasing just slightly over last year (0.3 percent), but increasing an average of 3.8 percent over the past four years (resulting in a 2012 average percent proficiency rate of 25.8 percent statewide).
Meanwhile, The Education Trust-Midwest reported that Michigan has among the worst student achievement gaps in the nation and, as the MME results show, these gaps are growing wider. Results show that African-American and low-income students are falling even further behind the state’s white students. While white achievement has risen slightly over five years, scores for black, Latino and poor high school students remain grim.
The gaps evident in the MME results echo the extraordinary achievement gaps found among Michigan elementary and middle-school students. According to The Education Trust-Midwest, results from the 2011 national NAEP examination show that—unlike a majority of states—Michigan did not narrow a single achievement gap between 2003 and 2011 in 4th and 8th-grade reading or math.
Some details as reported in the Detroit Free Press:
- At nearly 80 schools, none of the students was considered college-ready. That includes 11 charter schools, 31 alternative schools and 36 traditional, comprehensive high schools. Sixteen schools Detroit Public Schools had no college-ready students.
- Only six schools in the state had more than half their students considered college-ready.
- The International Academy in Bloomfield Hills, which uses the rigorous International Baccalaureate curriculum, posted the top ACT score in the state: 29.2.
- The remaining schools in the top 10: International Academy of Macomb, 27.5; Community High in Ann Arbor Public Schools, 26.2; City High Middle in Grand Rapids Public Schools, 25; Seaholm High in Birmingham Public Schools, 24.8; Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy in Saginaw Public Schools, 24.8; Okemos High in Okemos Public Schools, 24.6; Central High in Forest Hills Public Schools, 24.6; Andover High in Bloomfield Hills Schools, 24.6; and Adams High in Rochester Community Schools, 24.5.
- Some of the schools with the biggest gains in their ACT scores were alternative schools, which tend to educate more at-risk students. Case in point: TA Wilson School, an alternative school in Jackson Public Schools, posted the biggest gains from 2009 to 2012. The school’s average ACT score of 17.1 was up 5.1 points from 2009.
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