LANSING, Mich. -

Student achievement on the 2012 Michigan Merit Examination (MME) shows positive one-year gains and even larger four-year gains in mathematics, reading, writing, and science, the Michigan Department of Education reported Thursday.

The overall composite scores for Michigan high school juniors on the ACT college-entrance exam also increased for the fourth consecutive year, as did the percentage of Michigan students who are career- and college-ready.

"Building a stronger and more vibrant future for Michigan begins in the classrooms across this state," said Governor Rick Snyder.

"We must equip students with the skills to succeed in this global economy. While we have more work to do, our state is moving in the right direction. Let’s continue to build on these achievements for the good of our state and our children."

The largest gains on the MME occurred in reading and writing.

Reading saw an average one-year increase of 3 percent and a four-year increase of nearly 7 percent; writing saw an average one-year increase of 2.5 percent and an average four-year increase of 6 percent.

These increases resulted in 55.9 percent of tested students attaining proficiency in reading and 49.5 percent attaining proficiency in writing statewide.

Mathematics and science also showed positive gains, with mathematics increasing an average of 1.8 percent over last year and 3.4 percent over the past four years (for a 2012 average percent proficiency rate of 29.1 percent statewide); and science increasing just slightly over last year (0.3 percent), but increasing an average of 3.8 percent over the past four years (resulting in a 2012 average percent proficiency rate of 25.8 percent statewide).

High school juniors who took the MME this past spring represent the third junior class that is required by law to complete the new, more rigorous Michigan high school graduation requirements.

The two-credit world language requirement will take effect for the graduating class of 2016, with schools being allowed to give world language credits to students in middle or elementary school grades.