Celebrating being above the Michigan average and looking to what might improve student scores in the future, the Oxford Board of Education spent nearly an hour discussing standardized testing at its Sept. 11 meeting.
The discussion centered around the figures shown in the chart to the right represent the percentages of Oxford, Oakland County and Michigan students who were proficient in the subjects on the M-STEP and met the benchmark for college and/or career readiness on the PSAT and SAT over the last two years.
All Oxford students in third to 11th grade were above state average in M-STEP, PSAT and SAT scores for language arts, social studies and math.
Science is undergoing field testing, so those test results were not taken into account last year and will not be this year, either.
Board Vice President, Dr. Joyce Brasington, noted she is especially proud of the work being done with third through fifth graders in the district’s elementary schools, noting that the students are receiving a strong foundation in her opinion.
Later in the meeting, Deputy Superintendent Ken Weaver noted that research shows primary school to be a significant factor in how children perform later academically.
“I think we need to add that same kind of focus (with older students) and really wrap our arms around them the same way we have with K-5,” Brasington said.
The board expects M-STEP scores in particular to raise in the coming years. In the three years since M-STEP took place of MEAP testing, it has changed every year. When the test gains some age and more consistency, the board suspects scores will improve.
When Weaver presented the SAT scores, the data showed that, though Oxford students were above the state average in their scores, they lagged behind in the county average and that scores dropped from the year before, meaning the scores of the class of 2018 who took the test in 2017.
While Weaver noted that while every class of students is a little different, one test cannot show the skill level of anyone and some students are simply not good test takers, the district is taking steps to try to raise students’ scores. Oxford High School Principal Steven Wolf echoed this sentiment.
“Last year, we had our staff working tirelessly outside of the school day,” Wolf said.
Some of the things suggested by Wolf and members of the board were further integration of SAT elements into courses as well as to encourage parents to utilize tools such as Khan Academy and make a conscious effort to continually invest in their child’s education, if they are not already.
OHS Assistant Principal Kurt Nuss also encouraged the board and parents in the audience, saying he and other school administrators regularly trade tactics with other schools.
“We steal from each other all the time . . . Education is very open and sharing,” Nuss said.
Several members of the board expressed hope on the subject of SAT testing, saying the district has come a long way in the last three to four years and should continue to do so.
“We’ve got to dig in a little deeper and do a little bit better,” said Board Trustee Dan D’Alessandro. “And I think we’re doing that. We’re challenging everybody and everybody is stepping up to the plate.”
The board will meet next on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will take place at Leonard Elementary School.