Farmington Schools Posts Big Gains in 3rd Grade MEAP Results

While students in lower grades improved over 2011 in most subjects, 6th through 9th grade results slide.

A year after new cut scores dramatically affected MEAP (Michigan Educational Assessment Program) test results, Farmington Public Schools students have regained ground in some areas and slipped back in others. 

Results released Monday by the Michigan Dept. of Education (MDE) show younger students improved their performance more than those in grades 6-9. The largest single increase, more than 9 points, came in 3rd grade reading scores. The 80.8 percent result represents the highest proficiency level in any subject, across the district, since 2009. 

Check MEAP results for each school in our searchable database.

In other results, by grade level: 

  • Fourth graders improved by nearly 5 percentage points in math and writing, but dropped slightly in reading, year over year. Their 2012 and 2009 reading results are nearly identical. 
  • Fifth graders improved their results in writing, math and reading, but dropped in science to a 3-year low of 15.5 percent proficient. Sixth graders lost ground across the board, with the largest decrease in math proficiency. 
  • More seventh graders were judged proficient in writing, but levels dropped in both math and reading over 2011. Proficiency levels in math have dropped by more than 13 points since 2009. 
  • Eighth grade students posted gains in reading, but dropped slightly in math, science and social studies since last year.

According to MDE, students across the state showed gains in reading proficiency at all grade levels, particularly in grades 3 and 8. Mathematics also had proficiency gains at all grade levels, with the largest gains occurring in grades 3, 4, and 5. Writing proficiency saw a 4.4 percent increase in grade 7 and a 2.2 percent increase in grade 4.

Farmington Schools students performed above state-wide averages in every category. 

In 2011, the Michigan Dept. of Education (MDE) raised "cut" scores – the passing scores that distinguish between whether a student is advanced, proficient, partially proficient or not proficient in certain subjects. Students went from needing at least 65 percent of test answers correct to be judged proficient; the previous benchmark was 39 percent.

The chart below, with information provided by MDE, shows the percentage of students who have met or exceeded state standards in each subject area tested. 

Grade Subject Proficient 2012 Proficient 2011 Proficient 2010 Proficient 2009

03 Math 51.8% 46.2% 52.8% 52.1% 03 Reading 80.8% 71.3% 70.8% 77.0% 04 Math 54.3% 49.6% 57.6% 56.7% 04 Reading 75.7% 76.5% 75.1% 75.8% 04 Writing 57.3% 55.4% 60.5% N/A 05 Math 50.8% 43.4% 52.0% 57.7% 05 Reading 77.3% 76.7% 76.8% 79.8% 05 Science 15.5% 22.0% 25.2% 20.2% 06 Math 45.3% 49.3% 62.0% 56.0% 06 Reading 75.3% 76.9% 79.0% 74.9% 06 SocialStudies 35.6% 39.2% 41.7% 47.2% 07 Math 45.2% 47.5% 52.3% 58.3% 07 Reading 70.8% 71.7% 65.6% 65.8% 07 Writing 60.7% 57.4% 59.4% N/A 08 Math 50.8% 53.4% 56.1% 54.2% 08 Reading 74.3% 69.9% 68.3% 68.8% 08 Science 18.8% 19.2% 16.2% 20.7% 09 SocialStudies 37.0% 38.5% 44.8%


Cheryl Shah February 11, 2013 at 03:46 PM
Science has only topped 25% ONCE, and that was in 2010. Disturbing doesn't begin to describe that result.
art February 11, 2013 at 04:49 PM
It will be interesting to see how the superintendent spins these figures.
TN February 12, 2013 at 03:56 AM
Cheryl, can you explain why disturbing "doesn't begin to describe" the results on the science MEAP test? Please include in your answer 1) Information on the validity of the test itself, 2) support for the state's arbitrary lifting of MEAP "cut scores," and 3) evidence that these scores are disturbing when weighed against the state averages of like science scores from districts with similar racial and socio-economic demographics?
TN February 12, 2013 at 04:04 AM
Art, why would Dr. Zurvalec need to spin anything? She would be the first to tell you that her job is to support teachers as they work to elevate student growth. Should we not give her a moment to celebrate some of her district's successes?
David Anderson February 12, 2013 at 01:29 PM
The scores look stable, but did the learning remain stable? Follow a cohort through their years to see their progress. For example, 52% of 2009 3rd-Graders were proficient at Math. Their next year, as 4th-Graders, 57%. Then it drops to 43% and 45%. This is alarming. It appears as though this pattern is for most of the grades
DC February 12, 2013 at 01:29 PM
TN, These scores are far from successes. On the whole, performance has declined over the past several years (after factoring in the new cut score standards) in all areas except reading. It is a disturbing trend, no matter how you look at it.
Cheryl Shah February 12, 2013 at 08:24 PM
Do you have reason to suggest the MEAP test is invalid? So much depends upon these scores, it's quite a stretch for me to imagine that our educators, administrators, and board trustees wouldn't have been objecting long since now, if it is an invalid test. Raising the cut scores is irrelevant to the science proficiency levels being disturbingly low. The year that went into effect, the fifth graders dropped by 3 points, from 25% proficient to 22%. Eighth graders actually went up. Now, the cut scores stayed the same but the fifth grade proficiency dropped *seven* points, from 22% to 15%. Regardless of any other district's science scores, 15% proficient is disturbing. And, really, if 15% is "good" compared to state averages, that's even more worrisome!
Cheryl Shah February 12, 2013 at 08:28 PM
The year that the proficiency level dropped in your example, David, is the year that the minimum test score to qualify as "proficient" was raised. That's why you see the pattern for most of the grades there.
David Anderson February 13, 2013 at 04:32 PM
@Cheryl Shah- I am not certain your explanation is correct. There is a PATCH article (Nov 7, 2011) that first compared "old" cuts to "new" cuts and used the MEAP 2010 data. In that, for Grade 3 Math, the "new" cut was reported at 52.8% - the samer percentage as reported in this article.
Cheryl Shah February 13, 2013 at 06:35 PM
I am not certain either. But there is also this article http://farmington-mi.patch.com/articles/farmington-superintendent-tells-parents-meap-is-a-snapshot, which says, "Michigan is only the third state in the country to move to more rigorous scoring, which was approved by the state School Board in September of 2011. As a result fewer students are being judged proficient in areas tested, including math, reading, writing, science and social studies." Joni? Anyone at FPS have clarification on this for us?
David Anderson February 14, 2013 at 03:32 AM
A series of snapshots makes a film which conveys a story - an unhappy story :(
art February 14, 2013 at 03:26 PM
Has anyone read where the Superintendent has responded to the new test results?
Joni Hubred-Golden (Editor) February 14, 2013 at 03:32 PM
Cheryl, the MEAP scores that are posted in the chart do reflect percentages adjusted for the new cut scores - so this is comparing apples to apples. In discussions with the district staff members who deal with these numbers, I've heard that the cohort tracking is difficult, because students move in and out of the district - not in huge numbers, but it's still not exactly the same group that's tested from year to year. Farmington educators are concerned about math and science scores, Dr. Michele Harmala said that in our follow-up article: http://farmington-mi.patch.com/articles/farmington-schools-meap-results-reflect-shifts-in-resources-standards
David Anderson February 16, 2013 at 03:21 AM
Art, according to the Patch article (http://farmington-mi.patch.com/articles/farmington-superintendent-tells-parents-meap-is-a-snapshot), it appears as though the FPS Superintendent attempted to preempt the news.


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