By Danielle Smith
Leader Staff Writer
The Oxford School Board has reason to celebrate. At the Sept. 24 board meeting, Ken Weaver, deputy superintendent of curriculum and instruction, informed board members of the most recent scores from the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) and Michigan Merit Exam (MME).
Based on the scores, Oxford students performed above the state average in every category – English Language Arts (ELA),
math and social studies – while falling below the county average in a few areas.
Students in third through seventh grade took the M-STEP for ELA and math while eighth-graders took the science and social studies component. In those areas, fifth-graders were below the county average in ELA, math and social studies.
In regards to the dip in test scores for fifth-graders, Anita Qonja, executive director of elementary instruction, said that the decrease in scores were noticed across the county for fifth graders. However, Qonja feels confident regarding the program that the district has in place for ELA.
One highlight that Weaver pointed out was the test score for ELA in third grade.
“The third grade ELA (score) is the first time since 2010 that (Oxford) has been above the county average,” Weaver said as he was met with applause from board members.
He credited the teachers, principals and reading specialists at the various elementary schools for getting the students to where they are.
The ninth-graders took the PSAT and were below the county average in math as well as the tenth-graders.
Eleventh-graders who took the SAT and MME were also below the county average in math.
Weaver acknowledged that lower test scores in the category of math has been the trend for the Oxford school district for some time, but reminded board members of the steps the district has taken over the past year to help improve those scores, including a math coach that was put in place to help the district form a course of action to reverse the trend.
Some board members wished to have seen a comparison between current scores and past scores from Oxford to see how the district was doing against itself.
However, board President Tom Donnelly reminded board members that it’s impossible to compare the trend from year to year “because the same kids in third grade didn’t take the same test as the last three grades.”
Donnelly said the best the district could do is to compare the district with other Oakland County schools “because they all took the same test (that) particular year.”
Superintendent Tim Throne told the board he thinks the overall scores are some of the best he has seen in a long time. Throne was quick to remind everyone that the job was not done, but that it has given him “encouragement of the work that our teachers and principals are doing.” He believes that the work put in has paid off and will continue to do so, as long as everyone continues to put in the same amount of effort.
Science scores were not included in the assessment due to the district transitioning to the new state standards. Those scores will be included in the assessment starting in 2020.