Top-performing and high-growth states began their educational transformation with higher performance standards for students and schools, for good reason. When states set low bars for teaching and learning, that is exactly what they will get in return: low achievement.
The good news is that Michigan has adopted and begun to implement its first college- and career-ready performance standards, along with an aligned assessment. As they have a chance to work with the standards, teachers and principals have been embracing them as challenging, but absolutely the right stuff. And because the M-STEP assessment was fully aligned with the standards, the state finally has begun to produce truly honest data on where our students are performing on college- and career-ready standards – exactly the honest data tat both parents and students need.
But progress on this front is fragile: serious threats may derail this effort and undermine implementation.