Press Release

ROYAL OAK, MICH. (June 24, 2013) – Michigan’s high school students gained almost no ground in the last year on the Michigan Merit Exam and ACT – the assessments used to gauge whether students are meeting academic standards in literacy, math, science, and social studies.

“Though Michigan has seen some gains in achievement on the ACT in recent years, we’re still not making major gains in student learning among our high school students,” said Amber Arellano, executive director of the nonpartisan Education Trust-Midwest, a nonprofit organization that works to raise performance and close achievement gaps in Michigan.

“We still have a lot of work to do, particularly around better supporting teachers to prepare all students to succeed after high school, no matter who they are or where they live,” Arellano said. “In the coming months, our state has some critically important opportunities to do that, including around a new developmental educator evaluation and support system, and the resurrection of college- and career-ready standards.”

On Monday new state data showed that 18.1% of Michigan high school students meet ACT college readiness benchmarks in all subjects. This is up from 17.7% in 2012.

However, there has been little to no progress in narrowing dramatic achievement gaps that leave low-income students and students of color far behind their white or more affluent peers. For instance, African-American students remain a staggering 27.6 points behind white students in MME math scores. Similar black-white gaps exist in science and writing.

And in two areas – between Latino and white students in science, and between low-income and higher income students in writing – the achievement gap has actually widened since 2012.

“Michigan students – including low-income students and students of color – will not be able to compete for good, family supporting jobs of the future if we continue to fail them in the classroom,” Arellano said. “As today’s scores make clear, Michigan has no time to waste.”

In addition to dismal gaps in achievement, today’s 2013 release shows shockingly low levels of performance, especially among Michigan’s African American and Latino students. In the MME:

• Only 6 percent of African-American students met state math standards.

• Several districts, including Pontiac, Benton Harbor, East Detroit, Battle Creek and Westwood had no African-American students meeting state math standards.

• Meanwhile, fewer than 10 percent of Latino students in Detroit, Saginaw, Grand Rapids, Pontiac and Battle Creek met state math standards.

Today’s release also includes data on ACT test performance – an important measure of college readiness among high school students.

Among key findings from today’s 2013 ACT results:

• In Detroit, 2.3 percent of students met these benchmarks in all subjects; Flint was even lower at 1.6 percent; while Grand Rapids was higher at 6.3 percent.

• A mere 2.1 percent of African-American students statewide are college ready in all subjects.

• Only 7 percent of Latino students are college ready in all subjects.

• While 6.6 percent of low-income students are college ready in all subjects.

The Education Trust-Midwest is Michigan’s only statewide nonpartisan policy, research and advocacy organization focused on what is best for Michigan students. Our mission is to work for the high achievement of all students, particularly low-income, African-American, Latino and American-Indian students in Michigan, and to provide honest, reliable information to our state’s families and policymakers.