Test scores rise following DPS school closures, mergers

Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542
Kisha Verdusco at 313-873-8401

The merger of student populations following school closures has had a positive impact on standardized reading and math test scores, according to a Detroit Public Schools analysis.

The results, compiled by the DPS Office of Research, Evaluation, Assessment and Accountability, are the first look at the academic impact of merging two student populations, often with different levels of academic performance prior to being merged. The closures/mergers studied were for schools closed at the end of the 2008-2009 school year.

Of 34 sets of schools that were combined in the 2008-2009 closure cycle, 23 schools, or 68 percent, showed improvement on the reading portion of the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) test. Math scores on the MEAP remained stable or improved in 18 schools.

Some schools saw significant gains:
At Logan Elementary, 85.8 percent of students tested in math for the 2009-10 school year were considered proficient or above, compared to 73.2 percent the previous year. Munger had 44.3 percent proficient or above in math before it was closed and the student population merged with Logan’s.

Mark Twain Elementary saw reading scores rise after its merger with students from Boynton Elementary-Middle School. At Boynton, 53.2 percent of students tested proficient or above in reading in the 2008-09 school year, while 48.6 percent of Mark Twain’s students were proficient or more. In the tests taken this academic year, about 60 percent of Mark Twain’s students were proficient or above in reading.

Students from Chadsey High, which served students in grades 7-12, saw dramatic gains when the school closed and they were merged with the population at Priest Elementary. At Chadsey, 30.1 percent of test takers were proficient in math in the 2008-2009 year. After the merger, Priest Elementary had 83.6 percent of students tested proficient in math, compared to 68.9 in the 2008-09 school year. Similar results were seen when students from Chadsey began to attend Sherrill Elementary, where 2009-10 math and reading proficiency were 59 and 57.9 percent, respectively.

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