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Changes Possibly Underway For Student Testing In Michigan

Oct 12, 2016

Classroom
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

The State Board of Education is working on a plan to update school testing in Michigan.  


The proposed assessment goes beyond what is tested on the M-STEP.  It tests students’ abilities to be critical thinkers, problem solve, and communicate ideas, among other skills.  The focus on these types of skills is part of Michigan’s quest to be a Top 10 education state in 10 years. 

The assessment would take place multiple times a year to better track student progress, State Superintendent Brian Whiston said.  Whiston said this type of assessment is necessary to track student progress in areas that are important to student success.

“If that’s what we want students to look like and we align our classrooms to that, then we ought to have an assessment system aligned to it as well,” he said.  “And so we want problem solving, we want to be able to test writing, communication skills, and being able to work independently and as teams. 

But the new assessment wouldn’t completely replace the current Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP).  Instead, M-STEP would be used once in elementary school and once in middle school.

But at a State Board of Education meeting Tuesday some board members asked why the state wants to again make changes to testing.  They expressed concerns about teachers and schools having to use yet another method of testing. 

Venessa Keesler is the state Deputy Superintendent says she understands these concerns but says the changes will help get minimize testing time and get information to parents and teachers faster. 

“Michigan has been in a time of change around standards and assessments like many states in the last few years,” she said.  “So, I think those fears are normal but we certainly want to reiterate our commitment to our rigorous career and college ready standards.”

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org