Michigan Merit Exam 2011 scores were released Tuesday morning by the Michigan Department of Education, and Dearborn Public Schools fell from 2010 scores in all areas except writing, which went up 1 percentage point.
The MME measures progress in 11th-grade students in Michigan high schools. The test is given each March and measures students' progress in reading, writing, mathematics, social studies and science. It also includes ACT testing.
In Dearborn Public Schools, around 1,150 students took the MME and ACT tests this year. Data collected encompasses students at , , , and .
District average reading scores for Dearborn showed the most staggering change, with the percentage of students who are proficient or advanced falling 13 percent since last year. Math and science both showed a drop of 4 percent from 2010, while social studies proficiency dropped 7 percent.
In all cases, Dearborn's overall scores came in below statewide averages.
Dearborn Public Schools Supt. Brian Whiston said that although the district isn't happy with the results, the trend over time is still upward.
"If you compare 2011 to 2010, our scores weren’t as good as they were in 2010, and we’re trying to understand why," he said. "But if you look at the trend over a period of years, you still see the scores are going up."
In a school-by-school breakdown, Magnet High School students' proficiency levels were the lowest. Among the 13 students who took the test, 8 percent are proficient in math and writing, while 38 percent are proficient in social studies and reading. No students showed proficiency in science.
The Magnet High School is designed to help students in the district who are struggling in their home schools.
Dearborn High posted the highest proficiency scores, with 79 percent of their students proficient in social studies, 58 percent in math, 69 percent in reading, 61 percent in science and 54 percent in writing.
Dearborn Percentage Proficient or AdvancedMichigan Percentage Proficient or Advanced Reading 2010
Math 201052 50
Social Studies 2010
Social Studies 2011
ACT 2010 Average
ACT 2011 Average 18.5
Officials Pleased with Statewide Scores
High school juniors taking this year's Michigan Merit Exam were the second group to do so while studying under the new state-mandated requirements for graduation. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan said in a statement that the state sees the scores as a sign that the higher goals are working.
“Students are being challenged with greater rigor and are achieving at higher levels,” said Flanagan. “Michigan educators are to be commended for the efforts they put in to help more students learn and succeed.”
From 2010 to 2011, students meeting all four ACT college-ready benchmarks, a measure on Gov. Rick Snyder’s Education Dashboard, improved from 16 percent to 17 percent, representing an additional 1,090 students over the previous year.
“Michigan’s future in large part will depend upon the readiness of our students to enter a career or college with the educational foundation needed to succeed and have a strong quality of life,” Snyder said in a statement. “Our steady progress is promising, but we can and must do better. I am confident that with our rigorous high school requirements, high-quality teachers and the enactment and implementation of key education reforms, this positive trend will continue.”
Dearborn Works on a Game Plan
Dearborn Supt. Whiston said he plans to meet this Friday with deparmental heads to look at the test and “come up with a proposed game plan that we take to the Board of Education to celebrate the things we did well and improve in the areas where we need to improve.”
Whiston stressed that addressing individual students' needs is crucial, while implementing district-wide helpful programming, such as the , which addresses literacy problems among elementary school students.
"(Daily 5/CAFÉ) isn’t going to change the scores tomorrow, but we expect that they will change long-term," Whiston said. "It’d be nice if we could go in and fix everything short-term, but if you want to make changes, you’ve got to start in elementary and identify the problems and fix it for long-term solutions."
But every student has different strengths and weaknesses. Beyond addressing district-wide problems, this means the district has to tackle students' obstacles one by one.
"We have to break these scores down to each individual kid," Whiston said. "We need to understand where each child is at and help them be successful. That’s our goal."