THS students continue to improve in state testing
Tecumseh Public Schools Director of Technology and Curriculum Todd Thieken had some good news to report to the school board at its last meeting on May 29. Although he was unable to be present, he had prepared a report of the results of the most recent Michigan Merit Exam/ACT (MME/ACT) scores. Thieken’s report showed that Tecumseh juniors had scored 20.583 as a composite (average) on the ACT—an improvement over last year’s score of 20.38.
The MME is scored differently than the ACT although the tests are administered simultaneously. Last year, Tecumseh juniors scored 1103 on the MME, surpassing the Lenawee County average of 1091 and the state average of 1094. This year, THS turned in an average of 1111.6 on the MME, a substantial improvement.
“We’re still waiting for the county and the state scores,” Thieken said, “but I’m confident that we will be above the average for both, which is a testament to the hard work that the high school staff has been doing to adjust the curriculum to the new state standards.”
Thieken said that Tecumseh students have adapted well to the increasing demands that the state has instituted, including the new benchmark for the ACT’s college readiness level. The new benchmark is the minimum ACT test score required for students to have a high probability of success in credit-bearing college courses. Critics of the previous scoring system, including state teachers, professors, and Michigan Department of Education, called for higher standards in the MME/ACT test score rating because the older standards were not accurately assessing a student’s chances at success in college or a career.
The MME/ACT test for high school juniors is being aligned with national standards that will allow more accurate comparisons between states, and the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) test for students in the lower grades is being phased out beginning in 2013 in favor of a new national standard test that is called Smarter Balanced Assessment, an examination that has been adopted by many states, including Michigan, and is expected to become the national standard.
Thieken said that he and high school and elementary staff have met and are in the process of analyzing the results of the 2012 MME/ACT scores to develop the curriculum even further. “We want to improve on any areas of weakness in the curriculum that are not allowing our students to achieve at a level of success we desire,” he said, but he added that everyone in the school system should be pleased with how the Tecumseh junior class performed on the most recent test.
Thieken said that TPS’s attention to technology is a factor in student success. The district is in the final phase of a three-year revamping of technical resources, including a new teaching tool called a Mimio, which is like a SmartBoard, “except that it costs half as much,” he said.
The advantage of the Mimio, which is being used primarily in the elementary schools and middle school, presently, is that it can turn any blank wall into an interactive computer screen to allow teachers to show an entire class websites or any online information but with the ability to write on the screen with an electronic stylus to highlight important facts or write comments on the content of the projected material.
A full analysis of the MME/ACT test scores, with comparisons to local and state averages, will be coming from the state when all of the tests have been scored and the results are made available. Test scores for all Michigan schools are posted online at www.michigan.gov/mde.