Farmington Schools MEAP Results Reflect Shifts in Resources, Standards
Gains in reading can be attributed to Readers' and Writers' Workshop, school officials say.
Mixed results on Farmington Public Schools MEAP (Michigan Educational Assessment Program) standardized tests reflect shifts in resources and a move to a new set of standards, Kris Gekiere, director of assessment and school improvement, said Monday.
Officials noticed "slight improvement or stability" in 3rd-5th grade reading and math results, improvement in 7th grade writing and a "decline or stability" in 6th-8th grade math and reading, science and social studies, she said.
"I think what that tells us is we're undergoing a shift in our resources, as well as Common Core," said Gekiere, referring to new standards adopted by the Michigan Dept. of Education in 2010. "We're trying to adjust for something that's coming down the road, rather than honing in on the old state standards."
"It's important to understand that the MEAP measures the previous year's curriculum," said Dr. Michele Harmala, associate superintendent of student support services and organizational leadership. She added that changes last year to the cut scores required to demonstrate proficiency was a "ratcheting up" of standards, especially in math and science.
The fewest Farmington students achieved proficiency in science. In some cases, math and science results slipped below those from previous years. "There is a decline, definitely, in those areas," Harmala said. "We need to keep working at that."
On the other hand, reading scores are moving up, particularly among elementary students, but also at the 8th grade level. Gekiere said improvements can be traced back to Readers' and Writers' Workshop, which is offered in grades K-4, but has also been "embraced" by 7th grade teachers.
The use of reading interventionists, specialists who provide direct support to students and teachers, is reflected in the 3rd grade reading results, Gekiere said. Proficiency jumped from 71.3 percent in 2011 to more than 80 percent in 2012.
Gekiere said professional learning teams organized by both grade level and subject area will take a closer look at all the results. They are tasked with "thoroughly understanding" the implications of MEAP and other data, which will help form school improvement plans.
"MEAP can be a 'big picture' help," she said.