LANSING, Mich. (AP/WXMI) — Fewer than half of Michigan students are proficient in subjects tested as part of a more rigorous statewide assessment last spring.
The M-STEP results released Tuesday showed gains in 10 areas and declines in eight. The single largest drop in proficiency —4 percent—was in third-grade English language arts.
The test measures student proficiency in grades 3-8 in four subjects — English language arts, science, math and social studies.
Overall statewide average scores:
- English: 47.3% of students statewide passed, compared to 47.8% in 2015.
- Math: 37.2% passed, compared to 36.9% in 2015.
- Science: 23.8% passed (only grades 4,7 and 11), compared to 21.4% in 2015.
- Social studies: 30.3% passed (only grades 5, 8 and 11), compared to 31.7% in 2015.
Science was the only subject with across the board gains.
Fifth-grade English was the only subject where more than half of students reached proficiency.
State officials say there's work to be done, but they're pleased testing times dropped and results are being released four months earlier than last year — the first time the M-STEP was given.
>> MORE: See how students at your child's school scored here.
For West Michigan's largest school district, Grand Rapids Public Schools, the results were mixed. But higher scores in English did provide a bright spot, which has been a priority for the district, according to district spokesperson John Helmholdt.
"We know we’ve got work to do," he said. "We’re going to use this data to inform our instructional practices to move those numbers up, but we also want to emphasize a one-size-fits-all test score does not tell the full story."
The State's School Reform Office intends to use the scores to help decide whether to close low-performing schools across the state, including several in West Michigan. The schools on the list are ranked in the bottom five-percent on state exams.
- Ann J. Kellogg, Battle Creek Public
- Dudley, Battle Creek Public
- Fremont, Battle Creek Public
- Valley View Elementary, Battle Creek Public
- Verona Elementary, Battle Creek Public
- Belding Middle School, Belding Area Schools
- Hillside Middle School, Kalamazoo Public
- Milwood Magnet, Kalamazoo Public
- Northeastern Elementary, Kalamazoo Public
- Northglade Montessori, Kalamazoo Public
- Washington Writers' Academy, Kalamazoo Public
- Woods Lake Elementary, Kalamazoo Public
- Woodward School of Tech, Kalamazoo Public
- Godwin Heights Senior High, Godwin Heights Public
- Coit Arts Academy, GRPS
- Dickinson, GRPS
- Ken-O-Sha Park Elementary, GRPS
- Matrin Luther King Leadership Academy, GRPS
- Hope Academy, Hope Academy
- Michigan Virtual Charter Academy
- Muskegon Heights High School, Muskegon Heights Public Academy
- Nelson Elementary, Muskegon Public
Four GRPS schools are on the list. Helmholdt says the district is confident these latest scores will not impact getting their schools off the 'Priority' list.
“We are working collaboratively with the School Reform Office and we understand the concerns people have raised," he said. "But we’re confident that none of our schools will be under the threat of shutting down.”
Colleen Lamonte, a former state representative re-running for a seat in the 91st District, is among many Democrats angry with the proposal to base school closures on M-STEP test results. With two schools in the Muskegon area on the list, she argues the results fail to represent socioeconomic variations between students and districts.
“We are talking about schools that primarily serve a high percentage of children who are living in poverty," she said. "Until we as a state decide to step up to the plate and make sure our schools have the resources necessary to get these kids the wrap-around services they need, we cannot just go into these communities and shut these schools down."
Also released were SAT college entrance exam scores. The SAT was administered to 11th-graders for the first time after Michigan switched from the ACT.
Sixty percent of students were deemed college and career ready in reading and writing, but just 37 percent were college and career ready in math.