Board members question MEAP

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By Shanin Thomas
Old Town Lansing Times staff writer

Lansing School District’s Board of Education met on March 13 to discuss MEAP results at the informational study session. (Photo by Shanin Thomas)

OLD TOWN LANSING – Lansing School District’s Board of Education met on March 13 to discuss the MEAP results and to debate the yearly evaluation.

MEAP Results

The Michigan Educational Assessment Program is a standardized test given to third-graders through eighth-graders in the fall of every year to test students education of the previous school year.

Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul who presented the MEAP results, trends and charts.

“We’re doing better than other districts,” she said.

The Lansing School District increased in many test scores.

All grades except seventh improved in math. All grades except third and seventh improved in reading. Writing, science and social studies are given to certain grades. Fourth-graders and seventh-graders increased by five percent in writing. Eighth-graders increased by two percent in science, while fifth-graders stayed the same.  Grades tested in social studies also stayed the same.

Lansing School District’s schools Cumberland, Post Oak and Riddle increased significantly in math and reading. Averill, Cavanaugh, Fairview, Lyons and Willow experienced a decrease in those subjects. 

Comparing Apples to Apples 

Although MEAP results showed more increases this year, board members said they are concerned with the evaluation.

Guillermo Z. Lopez (center), board member, debates whether the MEAP is satisfactory. (Photo by Shanin Thomas)

The MEAP asks students to perform one day of the year on subjects from the previous year, board member Guillermo Z. Lopez said. That places pressure on the child, the teacher and the system itself.

“This year’s information is good generally, but we have a long way to go,” Lopez said.

Board member Charles Ford said the district must
figure out what schools that are succeeding are doing and apply it to the others.

However, does the MEAP compare apples to apples?

Board members said they believe this evaluation seems unfair. Not only are students tested on the previous year’s education after the summer break, the Lansing School District has a huge number of students of different ethnicities, members said.

The school district provides programs to help children of different ethnicities learn through the language barrier, board members said this way of learning may affect the MEAP results.

The Need to get Better

Myra Ford, vice president of the Lansing School District’s Board of Education, said the MEAP is not the appropriate evaluation.

This is Ford’s 17th year of being on the board and has been around education for 30 years, she said.

“The results and charts always look the same … it’s frustrating,” Ford said.

Having over 12,000 students in the district with unstable support at home affects the MEAP results, Ford said.

Perhaps it is the actual test questions that don’t make sense, Ford said. “I have tried to answer questions on the MEAP, and it’s hard.”

Board member’s opinions on whether the MEAP results are sufficient or the evaluation is unfair can be debated, Ford said. “Perhaps it is this country’s education that needs to be better.”

Comments? Contact Shanin Thomas at thoma955@msu.edu

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