Good News, Bad News In State Test Data

Jul 8, 2014

High schoolers' test scores up in all areas, many still not ready for college

Michigan high school juniors are improving in all core academic subjects. That's according to standardized test results released Monday.

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The Michigan Merit Exam (MME) is given to high school juniors each year. The data released by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) includes the ACT college entrance exam.

The biggest improvements in the results were in social studies and reading. State education officials credit tougher graduation requirements approved in 2006.

"I would attribute it to having something in place that's been consistent for some time, schools becoming much better at implementing that - and we're seeing that in the results," said Joseph Martineau, MDE's deputy superintendent of accountability services.

Martineau says officials also expect continued improvements in the future linked to the state's recent adoption of the Common Core State Standards.

"We do expect that we will see significant additional increases over time because of that increased level of understand that we're going to be asking students to demonstrate based on the Common Core," he said.

But students who are considered ready for college or careers, based on their ACT results, dropped slightly from last year to just under 18%.
    
But Martineau says that can be attributed to a change in the way that number is calculated by ACT. And he says the number can be misleading because it combines test scores from all subject areas.

"Even though a student may not be college-ready in one of those four subjects, they might be college-ready in three of those four," he said. "So that number, 18%, probably underrepresents how well schools are preparing these students for college."