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Posted on Sun, Oct 23, 2011 : 5:57 a.m.

Saline schools expecting lower proficiency scores on MEAP and MME due to new state standards

By Lisa Allmendinger

Saline third-ninth graders finish taking their Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) tests on Wednesday, and school officials want to warn parents that when the results are announced in a few months, officials are expecting significant drops in proficiency scores.

“The purpose of the MEAP is to measure proficiency across the state in the core content areas (such as math, reading and science),” said Steve Laatsch, assistant superintendent.

The changes are expected because of a new scoring system implemented by the State Board of Education that is reflective of students’ achievements in relation to career and college readiness.

“The cut scores is the score that separates test takers into various categories, such as a passing score and a failing score, or a selected score and a rejected score,” according to Information from the Michigan State Board of Education.

For example if the cut score on an exam is 70 percent, anything below that is considered a failing score, while anything about 70 percent is considered a passing grade, the information states.

Previously, the "cut score" was based on “whether students showed a basic understanding of the material,” now the scores will be “consistent with the skills students need for college and careers,” state information states.

In Saline, Laatsch said, he expects to see "significant dips" -- the biggest drops in math and science proficiency percentages.

If, for example, 85 percent of fifth-graders were considered proficient in science previously, 30 percent are expected this year. In math, if 98 percent of the third-grade students were considered proficient, he’s expecting just 46 percent with the tougher standards. For fourth-graders, if 97 percent were proficient under the old system, he expects 55 percent would be considered proficient with the new cut scores.

In reading, he doesn’t expect as large a decrease. If 89 percent of third-graders were proficient previously, 71 percent are now expected; while if 90 percent of fourth-graders were considered proficient in reading under the old system; Laatsch expects 74 percent with the tougher standards.

“The new scores will determine if students are on track,” he said, adding that state assessment scores will do down across the state. “We won’t be alone.”

He said he didn’t want parents to be surprised if their child was proficient last year and this year that’s not the case.

Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter for She can be reached at For more Saline stories, visit our Saline page.


Dennis Hallock

Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 6:19 p.m.

This is just another example of politicians becoming involved in the educational system, Why not set our students up to fail just as the leadership in Lansing set up the schools to fail with their school cuts. Do they even weight the scores to take in students with a learning disability? It doesn't sound like it at all.


Sun, Oct 23, 2011 : 12:14 p.m.

I'm not sure why this article is just about Saline as the entire state will be seeing these same effects. Michigan is one of only three or four states to make these changes, so we can also expect to be in the bottom percentiles nation wide.


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 2:14 a.m.

sh1- Michigan is the only state that uses the MEAP. The changs in cut scores are supposed to make our results on the MEAP more closely track our results on the Nation Edication Assement, or NAEP.

Basic Bob

Sun, Oct 23, 2011 : 12:10 p.m.

Do teachers and staff use the MEAP scores to assess or track individual students? Or are they used strictly to assess the progress of the school?


Sun, Oct 23, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.

It takes several months for the results of the MEAP to come back to schools (which is hard to understand because the kids bubble in Scantron-type forms), so by the time teachers get the results they know more about the kids than a test like that can tell them.


Sun, Oct 23, 2011 : 12:38 p.m.

I can only answer your question based on my own experience as a middle school teacher. Other schools may use the results differently. We do not use the results to track individual students, but we do look at the MEAP data very closely to look for patterns that might help us improve our teaching.


Sun, Oct 23, 2011 : 11:49 a.m.

Huh? I hate to see some of the other district's scores.