Snyder: MEAP test scores not up to par

LANSING – Michigan standardized test results for grades 3 to 8 showed mixed math and reading level changes in 2013, with almost one-third of students failing reading and more than half failing math.

Reading proficiency averaged 67.9 percent across the tested grades, up slightly from 66.8 percent in 2012.

Third-grade reading scores decreased the most from 2012, dropping roughly 5 percentage points to 61.3 percent. Eighth-grade reading scores increased the most, rising 7 percentage points to 72.7 percent.

About 41 percent of students passed math in 2013 and 2012.

The scores released by the state Department of Education are from the final round of the Michigan Education Assessment Program test. A new test with an online component is scheduled to be used in spring 2015.

“We know we have more to do,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement, adding that he is committed to “strategically” investing in education “so Michigan students are prepared for colleges and careers.”

Students took the most recent test in October to measure skills learned the previous school year. Michigan last raised benchmarks for passing scores in 2011.

The Education Trust-Midwest, a nonpartisan education advocacy group, called students’ 2013 performance on the MEAP “weak and stalled.” Amber Arellano, the organization’s executive director, said in a statement that the new test “will help the state build a sophisticated pre-K-12 data system to track student progress and measure school and educator effectiveness.”

Fourth-grade reading scores rose for the fourth consecutive year to 70 percent proficient, up nearly 2 percentage points from 2012 and more than 6 percentage points from 2010. The state considers those scores especially important because they reflect students’ ability when they transition from learning to read to “reading to learn,” Education Department spokesman Bill DiSessa said.

“This is encouraging news that more students are reading at grade level by the end of the third grade,” Snyder said.

Science scores were the state’s lowest overall despite increasing from 2012. Only 16.8 percent of fifth-graders and 19.8 percent of eighth-graders passed in 2013.