M-STEP: gains in math and social studies, declines in reading and writing

Aug 30, 2017

Test scores for Michigan’s students showed some improvements, but declines in crucial subjects.

The state’s M-STEP scores were released Tuesday. The M-STEP tests third through eighth and eleventh grade students in various subjects, including math, social studies and English language arts.   

Scores for math and social studies were up – but fewer students were proficient in English language arts than last year.

The state shouldn’t be satisfied, even where there was progress, said The Education Trust Midwest’s Director of Public Engagement, Brian Gutman.

“At the end of the day this isn’t just about making sure that our scores are going up,” said Gutman. “It’s about making sure that we’re preparing our students for success across the board. And across the board our proficiency rates are still too low.”

English language arts scores had improved in 20-16. But this year, student proficiency decreased in every grade but fifth.

Andy Middlestead is with the Office of Standards and Assessment in the Michigan Department of Education. He said the department will continue to focus on improving early literacy.

“Before we even had the scores from this year we’re really putting a lot of effort around early literacy in those young grades – kindergarten, first, second grade – to really start to put out some tools that schools might be able to use,” he said.

Gutman also expressed concerns with achievement gaps between whites and minorities, as well as between low income and higher income students.

For example, in eighth grade math, 10-percent of black students tested proficient compared to 40-percent of white students.

“We have a lot of ground to make up across the board,” Gutman said. “Historically underserved students are disproportionately affected.”

For more information, visit the Michigan Department of Education website.