By DAVID GREEN
There’s more than one way to study results from the state’s MEAP tests, said Morenci secondary principal Kelli Campbell.
The tests are given to students in grades three through eight throughout the state and results can be compared to state averages. Additionally, scores are often compared to those obtained in other nearby districts.
A more valuable comparison for her is to look at what’s called cohort groups—comparing the scores of last year’s fourth grade class to their scores as fifth graders, for example, and then comparing them again as sixth grade students.
Following the progress of each individual class can show continuing improvement or stagnation.
“All of our cohorts improved in math and reading,” Campbell told school board members at the March 4 meeting.
Morenci mirrored the situation statewide in showing a weakness in the science portion of the test, and Morenci students also scored low in sixth and ninth grade social studies.
“Those scores are substantially lower than where we would like them to be,” she said.
Each year administrators prepare a detailed school improvement plan that’s partially based on MEAP test results. A variety of data sources are used in addition to the MEAP.
Morenci students were doing quite well in meeting state standards, said elementary school principal Mary Fisher, until the “cut score” standards were changed. Cut scores separate students into categories such as advanced, proficient and partially proficient.
When the change was made to meet a higher standard, the scores posted by many schools suddenly looked very weak.
The district is adjusting to the changes and scores are on their way up, she said.
RETIREMENTS—Retired teachers Pat Burnard (16 years with the district), Dennis Quist (34 years) and Liz Jarrell (36 years) were honored at the board meeting and presented with clocks.
DISTANT LEARNING—Morenci is part of a consortium seeking federal Title II-A funds that would provide teacher training for distance learning opportunities. Siena Heights University would be part of the project.
IMPROVEMENT FUNDS—$56,000 remains in leftover funds from the middle school building project. A public address system that would tie together the middle and high school buildings was listed as a high priority during a discussion at the committee level.
Technology coordinator Hilda Jones mentioned the need for replacement of the main internet infrastructure and also the need for new computers for teachers.
Teachers are being asked to do much more via the internet, she said, but older computers often make that a challenge.