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Brandon MEAP scores mixed

February 13, 2013 - Brandon Twp.- There is work to be done.

The Michigan Department of Education released the Michigan Educational Assessment Program test results on Monday, with mixed results for Brandon.

"Some things were great and some were not so great as is typical," said Superintendent Lorrie McMahon. "We are pleased with our reading scores. They continue to climb. There are areas in mathematics that definitely could be better. Third grade math we would like improved and we also took a dip in middle school math. Science, statewide, the scores are terrible and we fall in the same range. The same is true for social studies."

Good news first— a majority of Brandon students are proficient in reading in grades 3-8, with 66.7 percent of third grade students meeting or exceeding standards; 75.5 percent in fourth grade testing proficient in this area; fifth grade showing 77 percent proficient in reading; 69.8 percent in sixth grade; 62.4 percent for seventh grade; and 72.7 percent proficient in reading in eighth grade.

"We are pleased to see the positive trends in reading in grades 5, 6, 7, and 8 that parallel Oakland County trends," said Carole Beverwyk, assistant to the superintendent for curriculum, instruction and accountability. "We are also pleased to see positive trends in mathematics in grades 5, 6, and 7 and the longer our students are in Brandon, the better they do."

Math scores showed proficiency rates at 27.2 percent for third grade; 36.6 percent for fourth grade; 50.8 percent in fifth grade; 43.3 percent in sixth grade; 42.2 percent in seventh grade; and 28.6 percent were proficient at math in eighth grade.

Writing proficiency is tested in fourth and seventh grades, with 52.4 percent of the Brandon fourth graders meeting or exceeding standards in this subject area, and 42.4 percent of seventh graders proficient.

Social studies MEAP tests are given to sixth and ninth grade students. In Brandon, 22.9 percent of sixth graders showed proficiency in social studies on the 2012 test, while 30.2 percent of ninth graders met or exceeded standards in this subject.

Students had their poorest MEAP showing in science, with only 12.6 percent of fifth graders meeting or exceeding expectations and only 18.3 percent showing proficiency in eighth grade.

Beverwyk noted that last year the state changed the cut scores, with new standards set higher to gauge the college and career readiness of students, which has "raised the bar for all."

Overall results show that Brandon students exceeded the statewide average in the area of reading in every grade, but performed well below the state average in math in grades 3 and 4, where overall state MEAP math results showed 40.9 percent proficient in third grade and 44.9 percent proficient in fourth grade. Brandon students topped or were just slightly below state averages in the higher grades. Statewide, math proficient results were 45.7 percent in fifth grade; 40.2 percent in sixth grade; 38.4 percent in seventh grade; and 32.5 percent in eighth grade.

Statewide results for fourth grade writing show 46.7 percent of students proficient, while in seventh grade, 51.7 percent meet or exceed standards for writing. Social studies MEAP tests show 29.7 percent of students statewide testing proficient, while 28.6 percent are proficient at the ninth grade level. Science is dismal statewide, with 13.1 percent proficient at fifth grade level, and 15.9 percent proficient in the eighth grade.

Beverwyk said clearly the science test as constructed is much more difficult for all students, as reflected in consistently low scores.

"We have work to do to align curriculum and instruction to the new Common Core State Standards," said Beverwyk. "Primarily in reading, writing and mathematics. The new standards are broadened and include literacy standards for science and social studies and we are addressing adjustments to our curriculum in all of these areas to meet the new expectations."

She noted that while the MEAP is a measure of state content and expectations, it is just one measure and she is not overly concerned.

"The overall educational experience of children can never be measured by one test on one day," Beverwyk said. "This continues to push us as educators to improve and the standards are good. It is also a guide to the expectations of college and career readiness that we need to adjust to prepare our students. What we are really trying to accomplish is to prepare our students to be successful in any future they choose. The vast majority of the students in Brandon go on to college and post-secondary training and are very successful."

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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