Familiar Data: Low Performance and Wide Gaps in Michigan Student Achievement

New national assessment data shows Michigan student achievement continues to be relatively flat and underperforming for key indicators. Across the nation, the majority of states have performed higher – and the majority also have made more improvement in student achievement – than Michigan on the national assessment since 2003. The new data is from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card.

Unfortunately, while Michigan’s rankings in some subjects have improved since 2015, this is due to larger declines in other states – not because Michigan has made significant improvement in student learning.

According to the new national assessment data:

  • In fourth-grade reading, despite a slight increase since 2015, Michigan students are still achieving at slightly lower levels than they were in 2003 on the national assessment.
  • While leading states have made clear progress in raising student achievement levels, Michigan has remained stagnant or made only slight improvement overall. For example, in eighth-grade math, Michigan increased by only three points since 2003 while the top performing state in the nation, Massachusetts, improved by nearly 11 points since 2003.
  • Detroit continues to rank last among large urban districts for fourth-grade students. And in grade 4 math, student scores in Detroit posted one of the largest declines in the nation – with average student achievement dropping nearly 5 points below Detroit’s 2015 performance.
  • Performance for African American students in 4th reading shows some improvement, increasing just over 4 points since 2015 and nearly 8 points since 2003. This progress should be built upon moving forward, as African American students continue to be underserved. Michigan still ranks among the bottom ten states for African American performance in 4th grade reading and significant gaps in opportunity and achievement between African American students and their White peers persist.

The new data echo the findings of a recent report released by The Education Trust-Midwest, Top Ten for Education: Not By Chance“The inches forward Michigan made on this year’s national assessment are still not sufficient to bring us back up to being a top education state,” said Amber Arellano, executive director of The Education Trust-Midwest. “Now is the time for Michiganders to join together and demand the same high-quality education that we expect for our kids to be provided to every Michigan student.”

Capital Update

The State Board of Education met this morning at 9:30am in the Ladislaus B. Dombrowski Board Room of the John A. Hannah Building. The agenda included the presentation of the Michigan 2017-18 Milken Award Winner as well as presentations on the Career Readiness Initiative/Marshall Plan for Talent, school safety and standards for the preparation of school psychologists.

The House Appropriations School Aid and Education Subcommittee will meet today at 3:00pm in Room 352 of the State Capitol Building, or after committees are given leave by the House. The agenda will include a discussion of House Bill 5576 and the FY 2018-19 School Aid Budget.

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