MEAP

Education
6:08 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

State reverses decision to throw out southwest Michigan elementary’s MEAP scores

Credit Alberto G. / Creative Commons

Scores from this year’s standardized test at one southwest Michigan elementary school will count after all. The state is reversing its decision to throw out the test scores after the district appealed.

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Education
10:05 am
Wed July 23, 2014

What do you want to see in a standardized state test for Michigan students?

Credit Biologycorner / Creative Commons

Michigan students have been taking the same standardized test for decades. It’s known as the MEAP.

But this year the MEAP test will be completely re-done and students will take it in the spring instead of the fall. After next year, it’s not clear what test students will take.

The state was all set to switch over from the MEAP to a test called “Smarter Balanced.” But state lawmakers balked at the idea, because the test aligned to the controversial common core standards.

Lawmakers wanted the state to stick with the MEAP.

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Stateside
3:30 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

How are teachers and school administrators dealing with the upcoming "new" MEAP?

Lawmakers ordered the Michigan Department of Education to stop preparing for the Smarter Balanced Assessment and return to a revamped MEAP test.

How is this playing out for the teachers and administrators who have to teach and give this overhauled MEAP test?

William Heath is the Superintendent of the Morrice Area Schools and the Principal at Morrice Junior and Senior High School in Shiawassee County.  He said the changes have been very difficult.

“We need some consistency. We need a target to shoot at. We don’t need the target to keep moving around,” he said.

Heath said they are judged by the growth from the previous year and when the assessment changes, they don’t know how they can measure that growth.

“If we are taking different tests, it’s a weird science experiment that there is too many variables in there. It’s going to make it that much harder to realize what exactly our students know and don’t know,” Heath said.

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
5:14 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Schools ordered to return to the MEAP test; teachers feel unprepared and disrespected

Credit Wikimedia Commons

When Gov. Rick Snyder signed Michigan's school aid budget last week, that act officially threw a big curve ball to teachers.

The budget included a provision ordering the Michigan Department of Education to produce and administer a MEAP test in the next school year, not the Smarter Balanced Assessment test they'd been planning to use –the test based on the Common Core standards that the state has been using.

If this all sounds confusing, try being a teacher in Michigan.

MLive’s Brian Smith has been talking with teachers about how they feel about the MEAP being back on.

“A lot of these teachers that I talked to are really just frustrated by the fact that now they just have a couple of months to prepare for a test they still haven’t seen,” Smith says.

He says the problem is that the MEAP hasn’t really been under active development, making sure the test is aligned with the state's content standards and the Common Core. So the test will have to be restructured.

Smith says in his report that all of the back-and-forth on the state's assessment test has left teachers feeling disrespected.

“They feel like their voices are not being heard in this conversation,” Smith says. “They’re not being included in the talk about how we are testing our kids and when we are testing our kids, and what that test is going to look like.”

*Listen to the full story above. 

Stateside
7:25 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Michigan lawmakers stall plan to replace MEAP with new exams

Credit Alberto G. / Creative Commons

One of the many decisions made by state lawmakers during their budget actions last week was to keep the MEAP in place for another year.

The more than 40-year-old MEAP exam stays put even though Michigan adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010. And the state's education department has been working for the past three years to bring in the new testing that is aligned to the Common Core. That new test is called the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

The state lawmakers' recent decision could mean that educators and students have to hit the reverse button and go back to MEAP. But State Superintendent Mike Flanagan said in April that the MEAP was simply “not an option."

Brian Smith has been reporting on the Common Core and Smarter Balanced vs. MEAP tussle. He said that as the issue moved forward, the Department of Education started to talk to testing vendors and see what could possibly be done.

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Education
9:52 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Flanagan: "The MEAP’s not an option" for next year

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan says the MEAP test is not an option at this point. He says changing now would cost the state.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan is warning Michigan lawmakers against trying to take a step back on school testing.

An amendment to next year’s school aid budget would require schools to give the MEAP exam next year. Some lawmakers are upset the state has contracted with a new company using a test tied to Common Core standards.

Flanagan says the MEAP test is not an option at this point. He says changing now would cost the state.

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Education
2:26 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

State of Opportunity's hour on what it's really like in a "low-performing" school

Michigan students may have more rigorous performance expectations on MEAP and other standardized tests.
Alberto G. Creative Commons

The MEAP test has been used to evaluate kids and schools in Michigan for over four and a half decades.

The test is meant to make sure public schools are teaching kids the basics. But MEAP scores affect where parents decide to send their kids, neighborhood housing prices, city tax revenue, and city services.

Basically, the economics of a city rests on how well 8 and 9-year-olds perform on this single test.

State of Opportunity's Dustin Dwyer spent six weeks inside Congress Elementary in Grand Rapids, a school with consistently low MEAP scores. Dwyer followed a third-grade class as they prepared to take the test. He interviewed students, teachers, and parents, trying to figure out how much these numbers matter. What he found was, the test scores do not even begin to tell the story.

To hear the documentary now and learn more, visit the State of Opportunity website. 

Education
5:33 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

A quick preview of our documentary on high-stakes testing

Dustin Dwyer and Kimberly Springer from our State of Opportunity team share "five teasers" about the upcoming documentary on high-stakes testing. The documentary will air (and be online) this Thursday.

Here's one thing that Dwyer will explore in the documentary: How the "bad" label can harm a school in an otherwise wealthy district.

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Politics & Culture
4:28 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014

Embattled Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema is hitting back at critics of his anti-gay and anti-Muslim web postings, saying he stands on the same issues he always has, "God, family and country."

In a Facebook post, the ex-state-Representative says people are feeding half-truths to the news media within the GOP and stirring up divisiveness.

He says he's wrongly being blamed for posting other people's comments and says it's an unfortunate and uncivil tactic to tarnish his reputation.

Rick Pluta, Lansing bureau chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network and co-host of It's Just Politics, joined us today.

Lawmakers in Lansing have begun holding hearings on which standardized tests Michigan students will begin taking next spring. Goodbye Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP), hello Smarter Balanced Assessment.

Opponents say it takes away local control, while those who favor it say it better predicts a student's comprehension. We found out more about this computer-based testing on today's show.

Then, we continued on the subject of schools and asked: Are zero-tolerance policies actually keeping kids out of trouble? A new study says not so much.

And, Michigan’s University Research Corridor is making huge contributions to the state economy. We spoke with Lou Anna Simon, president of Michigan State University, to learn more.

Finally, a new documentary explores Michigan’s history with the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad.  

Stateside
4:03 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Is the Smarter Balanced Assessment a suitable replacement for the MEAP?

Michigan students may have more rigorous performance expectations on MEAP and other standardized tests.
Alberto G. Creative Commons

Lawmakers in Lansing have begun holding hearings on which standardized tests Michigan students will take next spring.

The state has already decided to replace the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) tests and educational officials have endorsed the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

In the coming months, you’ll likely be hearing a lot about the politics of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Some lawmakers say the test takes away control from local curriculum because it’s being developed by a national consortium.

Public Sector Consultant’s Michelle Richard joined us today to discuss the new test.

Listen to the full interview above.

Education
1:23 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Today's State of Opportunity call-in show tackles standardized testing

Michigan students may have more rigorous performance expectations on MEAP and other standardized tests.
Alberto G. Creative Commons

Update: If you missed the program, you can catch the audio on this post.

Do at-risk kids have more on the line when it comes to testing? Are low expectations playing a part in poor test performance? How does the Smarter Balance test compare to the MEAP?

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Politics & Government
7:34 am
Mon January 13, 2014

In this morning's headlines: Power in Flint City Council, Detroit swap deal, MEAP tests

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Flint City Council could gain power back today

The Flint city council has been largely powerless in the two years since the appointment of an emergency manager. But that begins to change this evening. Emergency manager Darnell Earley says the City Council will now be asked to get more involved in city decisions.

Detroit swap deal to resume today

"A bankruptcy court hearing on Detroit's renegotiated deal to pay off two banks in an interest rate swaps deal is scheduled to resume today," The Associated Press reports.

Lawmakers to discuss which standardized test students will take this year

"State lawmakers will begin hearings this week to determine which standardized test Michigan students will take starting next spring. State education officials say the Smarter Balanced Assessment is the only good option to replace the Michigan Educational Assessment Program – or MEAP," Jake Neher reports.

Politics & Government
12:22 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Are Michigan state lawmakers smarter than third graders? A new bill might help us find out

The Michigan Educational Assessment Program is one of the tests that lawmakers would be required to take.
Alberto G. Creative Commons

Michigan state lawmakers are about to be put to the test.

A bill in Lansing would require members of the state board of education, the state superintendent of education, the governor, senators, and representatives to take the standardized tests normally administered to students in the third, eighth, and eleventh grades. Their results would be published online.

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Politics & Government
6:49 am
Tue February 12, 2013

In this morning's news: MEAP scores, right to work lawsuit, Detroit's finances

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MEAP scores show improvement

"State education officials say they’re excited by rising standardized test scores. They released the Michigan Educational Assessment Program results for 2012 Monday. Students in all grades showed improvements in math, reading, and writing," Jake Neher reports.

Unions sue to block right to work

"Labor unions are asking a federal judge in Detroit to block part of Michigan's right-to-work law from taking effect in late March. The lawsuit filed Monday is the second to challenge the law in recent weeks. It prohibits requiring workers to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment," the Associated Press reports.

Gov. Snyder looking at emergency managers for Detroit

"Governor Rick Snyder says he’ll be ready to move ahead with a state takeover of Detroit city hall – depending on the results of a financial review that should wrap up within several days. Governor Snyder says he’s already talked to prospective emergency managers in case a state takeover is called for," Rick Pluta reports.

Education
10:50 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

In new MEAP scores, some good news for Detroit Public Schools

Emergency financial manager Roy Roberts with a first-grader at Detroit's Dixon elementary-middle school
Credit via Detroit Public Schools

There’s some good news for the Detroit Public Schools in newly-released Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) scores.

42% of the district’s 3rd-through-8th graders scored “proficient or advanced” in reading. That’s up more than 6% from the prior year.

Math scores jumped more than 4%, with fewer than 15% of students rated proficient.

In most subjects, Detroit students’ gains outpaced state averages. But the district’s scores still remain well below state averages.

Roy Roberts, the district’s emergency financial manager, says that’s exactly the sort of progress people should expect at this point.
 

“If I had walked in here and said we’ve improved every class by 25%, you oughta call the FBI,” Roberts said. “It doesn’t happen that way. It’s incremental improvement.”

The number of Detroit students tested did drop more than 20% this year, though, as the district’s enrollment shrunk significantly. 

The state-run Education Achievement Authority took over 15 of the district’s lowest-performing schools last fall, leaving fewer kids in DPS. The district also has a dramatic long-term enrollment decline.

But that’s not the case at Dixon Elementary-Middle school on thecity’s far west side. That school has actually increased
enrollment—and posted some of the biggest gains citywide on this
year’s MEAP scores.

Principal Ora Beard took over the school three years ago. She says boosting student achievement in a school takes time—and lots of reaching out to students and parents to build trust.

“Our first year was totally building relationships,” said Beard. “And trying to get them to understand that we’re not here to fight you…we’re here to help you. And that’s what school’s got to be about.”

Education
2:15 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Fall MEAP results show reading and math gains

MEAP Scores are out for Fall 2012
Alberto G. Creative Commons

The results are out for the Fall 2012 Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP).

They show gains in reading, mathematics and writing in all grades and most demographic groups.

The Michigan Department of Education says the MEAP tests are "based on career- and college-ready standards and are the only statewide measure of what students know and are able to do in grades 3 through 9."

In the press release sent out today, Governor Snyder shared his perspective on the results

“We’re moving in the right direction and that’s a credit to our schools, parents and the students themselves,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “But much work remains..."

Education officials say in particular, students in grades 3 and 8 showed gains in reading proficiency (4.1 and 5.2 percent gain respectively).

Mathematics also had proficiency gains at all grade levels, with the largest gains occurring in grades 3, 4, and 5 (4.6, 5.0, and 6.1 percent gain respectively). Writing proficiency saw a 4.4 percent increase in grade 7 and a 2.2 percent increase in grade 4.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reports there were gains in Detroit as well.

Citywide, Detroit’s third-through-eighth graders showed gains that outpaced state averages, for the most part. But the district’s overall scores remain relatively low.

MRPN's Jake Neher is reporting that the overall scores in science did not fare as well.

... less than 16 percent of students had passing grades in science, and that number is dropping.

Joseph Martineau  is with the state Department of Education. He says that’s a serious concern, but the statistics might be a bit misleading.

“That’s simply a reflection of what is being expected by college and community college professors in science. They appear to have higher expectations of their students than, maybe, in some of those other content areas.”

The Detroit Free Press has a searchable database to see results for particular schools in Michigan. You can check it out to see how well your schools are doing.

Although the results were released publicly today, Michigan schools received them in December. This allows teachers to review and analyze those results, and use the information to potentially change their teaching.

- Chris Zollars, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Education
4:27 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Ann Arbor parents protest school tests

Michigan students may have more rigorous performance expectations on MEAP and other standardized tests.
Alberto G. Creative Commons

Parents of children in Ann Arbor public schools are gathering signatures against what they call the overuse of standardized tests. 

More than 150 people have signed the online petition so far.

They say students are tested too often between the pre-tests, practice tests and targeted testing for reading and math. 

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Education
3:04 pm
Tue August 2, 2011

Ten-year extension sought for Michigan students to meet proficiency score

3rd Grade Class
User: Old Shoe Woman Flickr

The Michigan Board of Education wants an additional 10 years to get students prepared to meet the proficiency scores on state standardized tests. The federal goals call for all children to be proficient on state exams by 2014. State leaders want to waive the No Child Left Behind requirements for 10 years. They believe this period will prepare every Michigan student to be proficient in reading and math.  

Jeff Bean is a Flint high school teacher. He says working to get all students proficient is noble but not realistic.   

"It would be like me setting standards for medical professionals: I think everybody who goes into a cancer treatment should get cured. Let’s go for 100%. That’s a noble effort. But to dictate whether doctors get to keep their licenses or not based on whether they save every patient they see, is an incredibly unreasonable piece."

Bean believes extending the 10-year deadline is a way for certain leaders to buy time to change the federal goals. He says pre- and post-testing would be a more effective goal for students.

U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, says more than 80% of the nation’s public schools could be labeled as ‘failing’ under the No Child Left Behind law requirements.

-Traci Currie - Michigan Radio Newsroom

What's Working
6:29 am
Mon May 16, 2011

Education blueprint: North Godwin Elementary

user BES Photos Flickr

This week, What’s Working focuses on education by taking a look at one Michigan school that went from academic mediocrity to being a model for educational reforms in the state. North Godwin Elementary is located just south of Grand Rapids in a working class community with a high immigrant population. Many families in the area are refugees from countries such as Bosnia, Cuba, Vietnam, and Liberia. A high number of students spend a few years learning English as a second language. 

When Arelis Diaz arrived as a teacher at North Godwin Elementary in 1995, the students were struggling to reach proficiency in basic skills. She spent five years as a teacher, and then served as principal of the school from 2000 to 2005. In that time, North Godwin’s students began excelling on standardized tests, bringing student proficiency rates to upwards of 80 percent across all subjects. That academic success at North Godwin continues today. The school has been the recipient of praise and awards for its turnaround, including the “Dispelling the Myth” award in 2010, given by The Educational Trust. 

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Education
1:49 pm
Wed April 27, 2011

A closer look at Snyder's education reforms

scui3asteveo / flickr

Today, Governor Rick Snyder laid out his plan for education reform in Michigan. All Things Considered Host, Jenn White, sat down with Tom Watkins to discuss the details in Snyder's plan. Watkins is a Former State Superintendent who is currently a business and educational consultant in the United States and China. 

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