Birmingham Students Score Above State Average in Merit Exam

ACT averages rise; reading, writing and math scores fall by one or two points.

Results for the 2011 Michigan Merit Exam (MME) were released Tuesday and little has changed for since 2010, however the district continues to outstrip the state by wide margins.

The MME, according to the Michigan Department of Education, assesses students in eleventh grade based on Michigan high school standards. The test includes the ACT Plus Writing college entrance examination, along with other state proficiency tests.

Student performance falls into one of four categories: advanced, proficient, partially proficient and not proficient. Students must score either "proficient" or "advanced" to be considered proficient in that subject.

According to Birmingham schools spokeswoman Marcia Wilkinson, the district is proud of its students.

"We're always proud of our students," she said. "We're always pleased at our scores and how well we do. But the MME is just one tool in a lot of different types of asesssments we use."

Overall, the percentage of proficient Birmingham students dipped slightly in reading, writing and math, while making bigger jumps in social studies and science. However, for the second year in a row, the district's proficiency scores continued to outstrip state percentages, sometimes by 15 percentage points or more.

Statewide, Michigan students continue to improve their scores in all subjects, with an increase in the number of students who scored proficient or advanced in reading, writing, math and science. The largest increase across the state was in writing, with 47 percent of students proficient or advanced in 2011, up from 40 percent in 2007.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said there is always room for improvement in the test results.

“Michigan’s future in large part will depend upon the readiness of our students to enter a career or college with the educational foundation needed to succeed and have a strong quality of life,” Snyder said. “Our steady progress is promising, but we can and must do better. I am confident that with our rigorous high school requirements, high quality teachers and the enactment and implementation of key education reforms, this positive trend will continue.”

The high school juniors who took the MME last spring are the second set of students required by law to complete the new high school requirements in order to graduate.


(% proficient or advanced)

(% proficient or advanced) Reading 2011 81 63 Reading 2010 82 65 Writing 2011 72 47 Writing 2010 73 44 Math 2011 76 52 Math 2010 77 50 Science 2011 81 61 Science 2010 76 58 Social Studies 2011 92 78 Social Studies 2010 86 79

Birmingham also saw a small bump in the average ACT composite score since 2010, improving 0.8 points to 24. The ACT composite score is the average of four ACT test scores: English, math, reading and science. Overall, ACT scores have remained consistant in Birmingham in recent years; in 2008, the district average was 23.

Meanwhile, the state average — 19.3 — remained the same this year.

Wilkinson said an overwhelming percentage of Birmingham students have always gone on to pursue post-secondary education, making the ACT and SAT  another "part of their academic careers." That it's now required has made little difference in the way Birmingham students prepare, she said

Birmingham Michigan ACT Average 2010 23.2 19.3 ACT Average 2011 24 19.3


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