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M-STEP scores show some improvement, but English language arts results "disappointing"

kids at computers
U.S. Department of Education
Creative Commons
Nearly 98 percent of all Michigan schools took the M-STEP assessment online this year, compared to 80 percent in 2015.

Math and social studies scores are up among Michigan’s students, but English and reading scores are lower, according to the state’s spring 2017 M-STEP/MME results.

The Michigan Department of Education released its annual M-STEP (Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress) results Tuesday.

(Credit: The Education Trust-Midwest)

In a press release, State Superintendent Brian Whiston called the English language arts results “disappointing.”

Fifth-grade students were the only ones to see any improvement on reading scores, rising from 48.8 percent of students proficient in 2015 to 51.1 percent in 2017. Third-grade reading scores fell for the third year in a row, to only 44.1 percent proficient.

(Credit: The Education Trust-Midwest)

The results are disheartening to many, especially with the state’s recent push to improve early literacy.

More from the MDE press release:

Two years ago, Michigan identified early literacy gaps as a focus area for policy and program support for learners, and established a set of initial support mechanisms to address the learning gaps. These programs have since been initiated with educators over the last 18 months. The programs, created and funded by the legislature, support specific recommendations to ensure that all students have strong literacy skills by the end of third grade.

Math scores increased across the board except in fourth grade. Social science, which is only tested in grades 5, 8, and 11, also saw better scores in all grades.  

The Education Trust-Midwest, a non-partisan education policy and research organization, notes that although there was some improvement overall, the M-STEP results still show evidence of economic and racial achievement gaps.

(Credit: The Education Trust-Midwest)

The M-STEP replaced the 44-year-old MEAP standardized test in 2015. It is the only standardized test given to all of Michigan’s general education students.

Emma is a communications specialist with the digital team at Michigan Radio. She works across all departments at Michigan Radio, with a hand in everything from digital marketing and fundraising to graphic design and website maintenance. She also produces the station's daily newsletter, The Michigan Radio Beat.
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