Press Release

Contact info:
Sarah Lenhoff, The Education Trust-Midwest
734-619-8008 ext. 306

2013 MEAP Results Show Little Progress as State Transitions to Rigorous Standards, Assessments

ROYAL OAK, MICH. (February 28, 2014) – Michigan student performance in grades 3-9 is weak and stalled, according to data released today from the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP). Seventy percent of fourth-graders were proficient in reading and only 34.5% of eighth-graders were proficient in math in 2013.
“Our students’ achievement is fundamentally important for Michigan’s economic recovery and vitality,” said Amber Arellano, executive director of the Education Trust – Midwest, a non-partisan research, policy and advocacy organization committed to raising learning for all Michigan students, especially low-income, African-American and Latino children.

“Today’s results provide more evidence that we are not doing nearly enough to improve teaching and learning and ensure that all students are prepared for a 21st Century knowledge economy.”

Many of the state’s traditional public schools and charter schools are not meeting their obligations to all students.

  • An unacceptable 47.6% of African-American fourth-graders were proficient in reading.
  • Just 20.4% of Latino eighth-graders were proficient in math.
  • Our state’s low-income students performed worse than their higher-income peers in every subject and grade, including in third-grade, where only 47.9% were reading on grade level.
  • Michigan continued its downward trend in social studies, as student achievement fell to 26.5% proficient in sixth-grade and 25.6% proficient in ninth-grade.
  • At Starr Detroit Academy, a charter school in Harper Woods, 8.6% of African-American fourth-graders were proficient in math, far below the state proficiency rate for African-American students and even below the proficiency rate in Detroit Public Schools. This is devastating, given that results from the national assessment show that Detroit’s African-American fourth-graders are the worst-performing in the country in math, compared to other large urban districts.
  • And in many districts, including Ann Arbor Public Schools and Grosse Pointe Public Schools, the gap between low-income students and their higher-income peers is over 40 percentage points in eighth-grade math.

In November 2013, Ed Trust – Midwest reported on national assessment results that showed just 30% of Michigan eighth-graders were proficient in math and 31% of Michigan fourth-graders were proficient in reading. According to these assessments, Michigan is in the bottom quarter of states for reading and bottom third for math in these grades.

These national results, particularly in reading, are much worse than what the state reported today. Why? The National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) is our nation’s most reliable and rigorous measure of student performance across the country, and it provides a much more honest picture of students’ preparedness than the current MEAP tests. In fact, it is a good indicator of how our students are likely to perform on new career- and college-ready assessments next school year.

The Education Trust – Midwest supports the transition to higher standards and rigorous, honest assessments aligned to the standards. MEAP has long been an unreliable guide of our students’ performance, and teachers and parents say it is not helpful in supporting student learning.

The Michigan Department of Education plans to implement Smarter Balanced assessments in reading and math next school year. These assessments, designed specifically to measure performance against career- and college-ready standards, will provide honest, comparable data on Michigan students’ achievement compared to their peers across the country.

“We cannot wait to fully implement these new assessments, which will help the state build a sophisticated PreK-12 data system to track student progress and measure school and educator effectiveness,” said Arellano.

“Data from the new assessments will also provide valuable information to parents and educators as they work to improve teaching and learning and target interventions for students.”

The Education Trust-Midwest is Michigan’s only statewide, non-partisan education research, information 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 reliable, data-driven information and expertise to our state’s families and policymakers about how to close our achievement gaps.