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ACT scores up, MME percentages fall, but still above state averages

September 22, 2010 - At the Board of Education meeting on Monday, Sept. 13, Dr. James Schwarz, the assistant superintendent of curriculum, announced the district's ACT scores increased from the previous year, while the Michigan Merit Exam (MME) percentages were above county and state averages.

In 2010, 308 students took the ACT test, with the average composite score being 20.5, which was an increase of nearly a full point over the 2009 test scores.

"Those (ACT scores) are trending upward slightly," Schwarz said. "We are not jumping up and down about the scores, but they are okay."

District students scored better in every area of the ACT than the state average. Students averaged a 19.9 in English, while the state averaged an 18.9.

In math, Oxford students scored a 20.3, which was above the state average of 19.7. The reading scores for the district averaged around a 20.5, while the state average was 19.7. In science, Oxford students scored an average of 20.6, while the state averaged a 19.9.

"They are better than the state average, but they are certainly not where we would like them to be . . . Again, we are putting some improvement plans in place to try and tweak those scores upward," Schwarz said.

When asked how well the ACT Prep class offered at the high school is working, Schwarz indicated it was hard to determine because the class was just beginning its third year.

"Typically you need three to five years of data to see if it is working, and this is the third year of doing it . . . so we will have more conclusive data as we go," he said.

Schwarz was also pleased that the MME scores were above state and county levels, but was concerned that the scores in four of the five tests fell from the 2009 scores. "They are not certainly trending in the direction we want them to continue to trend in," he said.

Overall, the 2010 scores were above state averages in all areas and above county averages in all areas except writing.

The MME has four levels that students are placed in. The first level is exceeded standards, the second level is met standards, the third level is basic level with level four being apprentice level.

Oxford had 74 percent of students achieve a mastery level, which is level one and level two, in reading, compared to 65 percent for the state and 70 percent in the county.

The reading scores were also five percent higher than last year's scores.

In math, Oxford had 60 percent at mastery level, compared to 50 percent for the state and 57 for the county. The math scores went down one percent from the previous year.

Social Studies had 86 percent of students at mastery level, compared to 79 percent at the state level and 81 at the county level. The scores were also down three percent from last year's scores.

In science, 65 percent of students scored at a mastery level, compared to 58 percent for the state and 62 percent for the county. The science scores also fell one percent from last year's score.

Writing only saw 50 percent of students at a mastery level, while the state was at 44 percent and the county was at 52 percent.

The writing scores also decreased eight percent from last year's scores.

Schwarz said that plans were being put in place to help the at-risk population of students at the high school who might drop out.

"That population of kids is where we need to hone in on additional services for them...we are looking at remediation and we are looking at different types of things that we can add into the curriculum for the kids of that level in the ninth and tenth grade," he said.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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