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Dryden fifth graders achieve top proficiency in science on MEAP test


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Students in Courtney Gleason’s 5th-grade class at Dryden Elementary School were among those who scored a perfect 100 percent on the science portion of the latest round of state-mandated MEAP testing. photo by Tom Wearing.

March 17, 2010
TRI-CITY AREA — Scores from the annual MEAP (Michigan Educational Assessment Program) tests have been tallied and local school districts appear to have fared well.

Topping local scores again was the Dryden School District where 100 percent of fourth graders met or exceeded grade standards in math and fifth graders achieved 100 percent proficiency in science. Last year, their third graders achieved 100 percent in math scores too.

"It's a testimony not only to our math and science programs but our language arts too which have a direct relationship to every other subject area," said Dryden Principal Richard Duffy.

Having excellent reading and writing skills plays a crucial role in the students retaining content knowledge in other subjects, he said.

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Hands-on learning continues to play a big part in science education, Duffy said. Between science fair projects and the new Battle Creek curriculum that all county schools are using, hands-on instruction will only continue to grow, he added.

At the Dryden Discovery Days on March 30-31, fourth graders will display their science fair projects and fifth graders will demonstrate their roller coaster experiments.

All local districts topped the state average in science scores, which unfortunately, dropped in 2009 compared to previous years. Only 81 percent of fifth graders and 76 percent of eighth graders attained proficiency.

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Across the state, reading and math scores on the average improved. In those subjects, students are tested on curriculum standards, known as Grade Level Content Expectations, which were implemented in the 2004-05 school year. According to a press release from the Michigan Department of Education, they are viewed as being "among the most rigorous standards in the country."

"These are the results we have been expecting when we established statewide curriculum standards and base our tests on those standards," said state Superintendent Mike Flanagan.

Most notably, all local districts saw their biggest gains over a four year period come in math.

In Almont, sixth grade math scores jumped by 20 percentage points in 2009 from 75.5 percent in 2006 to 95.6 percent in 2009.

In Capac, seventh grade math scores improved by 17.3 points, growing from 76.7 percent in 2006 to 94 percent in 2009.

In Dryden, sixth grade math scores went up by 13.9 points from 80 percent in 2006 to 93.9 in 2009.

Imlay City also saw a jump in sixth grade scores. Math proficiency rose by 23.8 points, from 62.5 percent in 2006 to 86.3 percent in 2009.

In addition to science, math and reading, all sixth and ninth graders are tested in social studies.

To see complete MEAP test results, visit www.michigan.gov/mde.

Maria Brown joined the Tri-City Times staff in 2003, the same year she earned a bachelor's degree in English from Calvin College. Born and raised in Imlay City, she now resides north of Capac where she enjoys working on the farm, gardening and reading.
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