After a year and a half of disrupted learning due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, student state assessment scores from this spring dipped from the last time that students were given statewide assessments in the spring of 2019, according to the Michigan Department of Education (MDE).
In results released on Tuesday, the percentages of 8th and 11th grade students who scored proficient or above this year on the English language arts (ELA) PSAT and SAT tests improved over 2019, while the percentages of students who scored proficient or above in ELA, math, and social studies in all other grades declined.
“In spite of the extraordinary efforts of educators, support staff, school leaders, parents, the broader community, and students themselves, the disruption of the pandemic has inevitably resulted in unfinished learning for many of our children,” said State Superintendent Michael Rice.
Rice noted that comparisons to any previous years’ scores would be difficult. Students did not take the M-STEP in the 2019-20 school year, and the percentages of students who took the ELA and math M-STEP tests this year ranged by grade and subject from 64 to 72 percent.
The usefulness of this data is questionable at best, said MEA President Paula Herbart. “The ongoing pandemic has been hard on all of us, especially our students, who have struggled with the uncertainty of the past year and a half. Educators across our state have gone above and beyond to continue meeting the needs of students – and we’ll continue to do so, regardless of what’s derived from these flawed standardized test results.”
Rice and State Board of Education President Casandra Ulbrich requested that the U.S. Department of Education (USED) waive the statewide M-STEP assessments for the second straight year to maximize learning and focus educators’ attention on more timely data from required benchmark assessments.
While the USED granted MDE’s request for waiver of high-stakes accountability requirements for districts and teachers, it denied the request to waive state summative assessments. As such, the M-STEP was required to be administered but optional for students to take.
Students who took the state assessments were more likely to be from districts that offered in-person or hybrid learning and less likely to be students of color, economically disadvantaged students, or English learners.
To view results, go to mischooldata.org.