Friday, July 04, 2008

Our high school MME scores came out recently. 27% of the students were proficient in math. If that number alone is not enough to make a person cringe, I looked back at their 8th grade scores. Since the 8th grade test is given in the fall, it reflects their learning in 7th grade, and is the late test score until MME in the spring of their 11th grade year. When this group was in 8th grade, 60% were proficient in math. Not a great percentage, but over twice as much as when they reached 11th grade. Given the fact that some of your lower students have dropped out of school, gone to the alternative school, or simply moved by their 11th grade year, coupled with the fact this test is more important to students than when they are in middle school, logic would say if anything, the proficiency level should rise, not fall.

What is happening? Why are we doing so poorly in the high school math area? And, even more importantly, what do we do about it?


Jackie said...

Have you looked at how closely what is assessed matches the standards addressed in class?

How reliable is the MME? Valid?

Does the way they are assessed on the MME match class assessments? Are they familiar with the format of the test?

Also, does this test in any way affect the student? Does it go on their transcript? Is it reported to colleges?

Just a few thoughts.

cossondra said...

You are right on target with your questions. Our high school math dept is reluctant to change to the high school content expectations. Even getting them to use the state created end of course exit exams with a cut score has been a battle.

The new test will stand the test of time, in my opinion. It accurately assess what "should" be taught in the high school classes. However, as any educator knows, a test is just a test.

Students do understand the importance of the test - it is actually comprised of the ACT, Work Keys and .. something else which escapes me at the moment. It carries quite a bit of importance.

The real question is what will the state of Michigan do when students at my school as well as others around the state start failing not only the test, but the new curriculum requirements in place. "A train wreck" is what the situation as been described as.

I applaud the efforts to increase high school requirements, but I am also more realistic about students, their abilities and their needs.

Current testing procedures in our high school classes do NOT match the format of the MME, no, not at all. Again, it has been a battle of the wills between teachers and adminstration to get things where they must be. It is a work in progress, and progess is being made, slowly.

Some teachers still teach from algebra books from the 1980's which are obviously not aligned to the new curriculum. It has been offered to them over and over to have new textbooks, but they balk.

THe point will eventually be reached where someone has to force the issue- state exit exams must be used to get credit for the class - this will suddenly change everything - the way the courses are taught and asssessed, as well as student responsibility in the curriculum.

There is my winding answer... email me at if you want more insights!

Jackie said...

Interesting. Our state also uses the ACT and WorkKeys for NCLB.

One thing we have done is to write 'ACT' like questions for every unit assessment. Of course these are questions that address the skills from that unit.

Personally, I like the open ended questions better, as I sometimes think the multiple choice tests actually assess test taking skills, but... testing is a reality.

Thanks for the detailed response. I thought I'd let you know that I'm glad I found your blog today!