HOUGHTON - If changes to cut scores in the Michigan Educational Assessment Program test are factored out, Houghton-Portage Township numbers for last year's tests are on par with previous years, administrators said Monday.
Last year, Michigan adopted stricter standards for what scores constitute college-ready. Students must now answer 65 percent of questions correctly to be deemed proficient, up from the previous 39 percent.
In math, 50 percent of Houghton eighth graders were proficient, compared to 29 percent statewide. With identical results last year, Houghton and the state's numbers were 95.1 percent and 78 percent, respectively.
Middle school Principal Jim Luoma also used the example of eighth-grade science scores.
"Last year we had a 33 and the state was 15, if we used a cut score. But if it was a regular score, it was 95." he said. "So what does that mean that the 31 was in last year's scores? It's going to be somewhere in the 90s."
The biggest issue was writing, Luoma and elementary school principal Patrick Aldrich said. The two cases where Houghton was not above the state average were seventh-grade writing, with 47 percent proficiency in both, and fourth-grade writing, where 41.2 percent of students were proficient, compared to 45 percent statewide.
"I think the principals and the leadership groups within the school will get together and we'll start diving through what we need to do next," Aldrich said.
In other action, the board:
heard a report from High School Principal Kass Simila. Eleven middle school band members and 13 high school band members received 1 rankings in recent competition. Thirteen people will participate in state solo and ensemble competition in March. The choir had a Solo and Ensemble Honors Concert in Marquette Feb. 12. Despite warm weather, students were able to build quinzees on Quinzee Day.
heard a report from Luoma. There was a Safe Routes 2 School meeting with Houghton City Manager Scott MacInnes Feb. 15 on areas of concern for students walking to and from the elementary and middle-high schools. A public forum will take place at a later date. There will be Cyber Safety Initiative meetings Monday; a middle school assembly from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m. and a parent and community forum 6 to 7 p.m. The sessions will cover topics such as Internet bullying and caution about personal information.
heard a report from Elementary School Principal Patrick Aldrich.
Grades four and five will also participate in the CSI program through a different presentation. Aldrich is also in early discussions with Houghton Police Chief John Donnelly and Lt. Nick Roberts about an anti-bullying program. Kindergarten registration is tentatively planned for March 14.
heard a strategic plan report from Superintendent Doreen Klingbeil. The board has mostly accomplished the four strategic goals developed for the district. Klingbeil and the board discussed creating a strategic planning ad hoc committee.
Simila talked about required actions given after an AdvancED review last spring. The team wanted to see more detail in the school improvement plan and then looking at how to use data more effectively.
heard a report from Student Council President Connor Colling. The high school's Wing Ding week was successful, including mass activities of "Y.M.C.A.," the Wave and leapfrog. The Battle of the Bands will take place in April.
approved the second reading of NEOLA policy updates.