MDPS Sees Double Digit Growth in M-Step

MDPS Sees Double Digit Growth in M-Step
Teacher reads to class

Madison District Public Schools saw double digit increases for Reading and Math in the 2017 M-Step. Although many areas in the state experienced decreases in the annual state assessment, MDPS continues to build on the strong foundation the teachers, students and families are creating.

These are excerpts from the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press:
From The Detroit News
Randy Speck, superintendent of Madison District Public Schools, saw double-digit increases in proficiency rates in fifth- and seventh-grade math and in fifth-grade English. The largest jump came in fifth-grade math in which student proficiency increased 14.8 percentage points, moving from 8.6 percent in 2016 to 23.4 percent in 2017. Speck credits his teachers’ dedication to students for the bump in test scores on the M-STEP. “We have a relentless urgency around this idea that our kids can learn. Every single one of them,” Speck said. “It is our teachers. It’s their attitudes, and it’s a buy-in belief that every child in this building can learn and can achieve. And that’s really exciting.”

The Oakland County district’s year-round calendar also helps drive increases in test scores, he said. The school population is the among the highest economically challenged population in the county, Speck said. “We put a plan in place. We look at the data. We do deep data dives. Teachers are making on-the-fly adjustments for kids in their individual learning. Kids are buying in. I think it’s exciting,” he said.

Tung Tran is a fifth-grade math teacher at Madison Elementary School. Tran said getting to know his students is how he determines what gaps they each have in math proficiency. In a recent exercise on the first week of school, he had students pick their two favorite numbers and then tell a story behind their choices. “It starts in third grade, and it’s building up on the gaps they are missing. We are low-income, and some fall through the cracks. The assessments are constant and daily, and you have to get to know your students,” he said. (August 29, 2017 The Detroit News, Lori Higgins)

‚ÄčFrom the Detroit Free Press
There were some bright spots in the state, including in the Madison District Public Schools in Madison Heights, where the number of students proficient was up in a number of areas. In third-grade math, for instance, 50% of the students passed, up from 40%. In language arts, 39.3% were proficient, up from 34.3%. One of the biggest gains for the district came in fifth-grade math, where the percentage of students who passed went from 8.6% last year to 23.4% this year.


Superintendent Randy Speck said he's pleased with the results, though he knows the district must keep improving."It's what we've been working for," Speck said. The district has made sure its curriculum is aligned with the standards taught on the exams. Three years ago it began operating using a balanced calendar, meaning students start the school year early and end it later than most others, while having more frequent breaks throughout the year. The schedule means there isn't as much time during the summer for students to lose what they've learned during the year. "We're really starting to see the retention level increase," Speck said.

Most important, Speck said, is the district has tried to cultivate a culture "of trying to balance out the importance of showing each child that we love and care for them and at the same time saying you can really achieve and we want to show you you can do do it." (August 29, 2017, The Detroit Free Press, Jennifer Chambers)

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