High Standards and Rigorous Assessment

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 in 2006, Michigan passed a comprehensive set of graduation requirements, known as the Michigan Merit Curriculum (MMC), designed to make students’ high school experiences more rigorous and to better prepare Michigan students for post-secondary success. Crafted with noble intentions, the MMC implementation faced many challenges .  

Despite legislative changes to roll back the curriculum and a lack of state support and leadership on implementation, research has found that, under the MMC, students took and passed more mathematics coursework. Additionally, more well-prepared students enrolled in college at higher rates after high school. 

Michigan has the opportunity to double down on the foundational beliefs of the MMC: all students should have full access to rigorous coursework that prepares them well for college and career opportunities not only in the immediate term but for their lifetimes. 

The Education Trust-Midwest will continue our efforts to ensure full access to rigorous coursework and preparation for all Michigan students.