M-STEP: Fewer than 50% of students passing key subjects

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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.

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  • Kevin Rahe

    With distractions like losing separate boys and girls restrooms and locker rooms, the situation is liable to get only worse .

  • Jay

    Well if the education system actually educated instead we teach children to copy and paste look at the weather teaching kids math now days making it 10 times more difficult than it needs to be and were wondering why these kids don’t pay attention it’s because these educators are not educating their feeding our children garbage I found out at a very young age that my teacher was no smarter than the book they used to teach I have clown to many of teachers due to the lack of education they have proven wrong over and over again because I know a lie when I see one every book that is taught inside of a public school in the United States is full of straight lies if parents were to start to see some of this education their children are receiving they might be able too see the problems it’s not up to the children to figure out how to be educated it’s up for these educators to figure out how to educate our children I wish I could use all the excuses you guys do

  • Hateu

    Notice the lowest rated schools are all black schools. Whoda thunkit.. We wonder why these kids be talkin like, I dindu nuffin, I aint did nothin..
    What employer is going to hire someone with hood rat grammar ?

  • Jay

    To say oppression doesn’t go on in this country is insane All you have to do is look outside the box all these inner-city kids grow up without a father meaning no discipline no leadership and in most times none educated mother and expecting these kids to succeed how maybe if we had some more these dads on the street instead of in the prison system with my not have so much chaos going on in the youth in the inner city But to tell these kids how important registration is when most of them know they won’t even reach graduation why would you expect somebody to work hard when they’re already doomed to fail with the system we have set up today we need to change the The system to change the people the sooner we all understand that we are more alike then different no matter what your race sex or sexual preference all of her no matter what your race sex or sexual preference all of are lives matter The sooner we start helping others instead of judging them is on the finally see this country come back to life all we need is love

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