Escanaba schools find little change in MEAP results

ESCANABA – The scores are in!

The Escanaba Area Public Schools Board of Education was updated on the results of the fall 2013 Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) scores at Monday’s school board meeting.

The end result? Not much has changed from last year, according to Escanaba Upper Elementary School Principal Steve Martin, who presented the overall results to the board.

The MEAP test was administered in the fall testing third- through ninth-graders on what they learned the year before in reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies. Students are tested in a combination of the subjects depending on grade level.

The MEAP test is based on a four-point scale. A “1” is advanced, “2” is proficient, “3” is partially proficient, and “4” is not proficient. Specifically, a “1” or “2” is considered proficient when measuring student performance.

In comparing this year to last year, Martin noted there has not been much of a change.

“The real thing that you get out of these numbers is that we’re pretty darn consistent from 2012 over into 2013,” he said.

However, when comparing test results with other schools in the Delta-Schoolcraft Intermediate School District (ISD) and throughout the state, there are some noted areas where Escanaba did better and others where they scored worse.

One of the best areas for Escanaba was in reading, where 78 percent of third-graders were proficient compared to just 67 percent in the ISD and 61 percent in the state. Similarly, 78 percent of fourth-graders were proficient in reading, compared to 74 percent in the ISD and 70 percent in the state.

And in writing, 56 percent of fourth-grade students were proficient, compared with 48 percent from the ISD and 50 percent from the state.

Mathematics was a different story, in which Escanaba scored below the state in all but one grade level that tested the subject.

In sixth grade, only 19 percent of students in both Escanaba and the ISD were proficient in math compared with 41 percent in the state.

Likewise, 27 percent of Escanaba seventh-graders were proficient in math, compared with 32 percent in the ISD and 39 percent in the state.

Martin pointed out that despite some of the lower percentages, in most of the MEAP categories the trends between Escanaba, the ISD and state were pretty consistent.

In fifth grade science for instance, 15 percent of Escanaba students were proficient, compared to the ISD average of just 13 percent and the state average of 17 percent.

“A lot of our trends are very similar,” he said. “We are obviously very proud of our scores, the job that our teachers do and the performance of our kids…Are we satisfied? No, we’re always going to be trying to improve.”

Martin said the district will dig deep to assess why they may have scored the way they did in areas and what they can do to improve instruction.

He also noted that as it stands currently, there will be no MEAP test administered in the fall, as the district is anticipating a state-mandated online assessment sometime in the spring of 2015 instead.

“This would be, in my personal opinion and I think most educators’ opinions, a better time to test kids on what they just learned,” he said.