Michigan shortens annual testing

Changes announced last week will mean shorter annual assessments for Michigan students. New details from the Michigan Department of Education show that annual tests this year will be up to eight hours shorter for 11th grade students, and two and a half hours shorter for most other grades. Annual testing – which previously took less than one percent of the school year – will also be given later in the school year. Reducing the time for state tests is an important step, but it is also critical for schools and districts to identify what local testing is necessary and which local tests can be eliminated.

Last year, Michigan introduced the M-STEP, which replaced the 44-year-old MEAP. The new test measures student learning, aligned to our career- and college-ready academic expectations in reading, writing, and math. In addition to providing parents and teachers with better information and where a student struggles or excels, the new assessment uses different types of questions which require students to show real-world skills, like critical thinking and problem solving.

Student scores from the spring 2015 M-STEP are expected out this fall. While scores will not be comparable to the old MEAP – due to significant differences in the tests – they will be important for setting a new baseline for measuring student progress. As Michigan students and teachers transition to higher learning standards and new assessments, scores are expected to be lower this year, but should improve over the next few years.

Capital Update

BILL AIMED AT IMPROVING THIRD-GRADE LITERACY IS INTRODUCED. The legislation – House Bill 4822 – was introduced last week by Rep. Amanda Price (R – Park Township), chair of the House Education Committee.

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