Michigan high school students are expressing their excitement and relief over last week’s announcement from the Michigan Department of Education that the results of the 2014 Michigan Merit Exam show gains in all subject areas.
The test–a precise tool used solely for the purpose of determining whether students are effectively prepared for success in college or a future career–is often the cause of low self esteem, emotional distress, and downright bitchiness each year among Michigan high school students as they await results from the Michigan Department of Education.
Hannah McGadden, a student at Fernville High School, can attest. “We’re over a month into summer vacation, and I didn’t sleep a wink until last week when the test results were finally announced,” she said. “Imagine my relief when I found out that those late nights playing ‘Operation’ to hone my skills to correctly mark the bubbles on the multiple choice test questions had paid off.”
McGadden’s happiness bubbled over like the velvety chocolate in a decadent lava cake when she spoke about the Michigan Department of Education’s news of improved reading scores. “How could any student not be giddy when hearing that reading proficiency scores increased 5.2 points from 53.5 to 58.7 percent between 2013 and 2014?” she asked rhetorically. “I can only attribute it to the wide range of reading we were required to do because our teachers had to constantly rewrite their curricula for whatever standards the Michigan Department of Education required them to teach each week.”
McGadden isn’t alone in her excitement over the news of the improved test scores. “I was deemed highly proficient,” Lakewood High School junior Anna Vandenberg exclaimed while performing a wholly embarrassing version of the Cabbage Patch dance. “Rigor pays off,” she said. “I’ve heard some people question the benefits of the countless hours of homework or seemingly irrelevant projects I’ve been assigned, but the proof is in the pudding: the data says that I’m worthwhile. Nothing makes you feel better about yourself than a press release in a newspaper that alludes to my performance having a slight effect on positively influencing statewide test scores. For once in my life, I feel appreciated.”
Unfortunately, some of the news shared during the press conference wasn’t as encouraging. A slight drop in Michigan juniors meeting proficiency in the ACT math test lowered the overall “college readiness” score. David Taylor, a student at Quad City High School, was devastated when he heard the news. “I’m so disappointed in myself,” he said as tears streamed from his bloodshot eyes. “I merely ‘met expectations’ on the math portion. Sure, I had just received news on the morning of the test that my mother’s cancer was incurable, but that was no excuse for me not to focus. Plain and simple, I let down my school and the State of Michigan.”
Fortunately for Taylor, there’s always next year. “I might not be able to retake the MME as a senior,” he said, pausing to kneel next to the newly hewn headstone of his mother’s grave, “but I’m confident that my teachers are already busy analyzing my test scores to help me acquire the skills I need to be highly proficient in math before I graduate. After all, everyone knows that the senior class is their top priority.”