School officials assess M-STEP scores

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published September 10, 2019


GROSSE POINTES — Grosse Pointe Public School System officials are reviewing the 2019 Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress, SAT and PSAT scores that the Michigan Department of Education released Aug. 29.

The M-STEP tests third through eighth grade students on English language arts and mathematics; fourth and seventh grade students on science; and fifth and eighth grade students on social studies. The SAT was administered to all 11th grade students, testing them on English, math, science and social studies. Both tests align with state standards and were taken in the spring of 2019.

Statewide, third and fourth grade ELA scores on the M-STEP showed modest gains for the second straight year, according to the Michigan Department of Education. ELA scores by Michigan sixth graders also increased, as did math scores for third, fifth, and sixth grade students.

“The M-STEP is an important assessment, but as a district we focus on a wide array of assessments to inform our teachers, students and families,” GPPSS Deputy Superintendent Jon Dean said in an email. “We know that we can always do better, but that we are proud of the progress our students demonstrate on all assessments. With our top ranked faculty we know that all of our students have ... great opportunities to learn.”

According to state Deputy Superintendent Venessa Keesler, the 2018 and 2019 assessments are the first time during the past five years where there is a relatively clean comparison across years for M-STEP and SAT.

“Year-to-year comparisons of state assessment results can be problematic,” Keesler said in a prepared statement. “Changes and systematic improvements to Michigan’s state assessment system have been made each year since the M-STEP began in 2015, which make it difficult to make data comparisons or interpret long-term data trends.”

In 2015, the online M-STEP assessment system replaced the paper-and-pencil Michigan Educational Assessment Program test.

According to the MDE, the state’s SAT scores in evidence-based reading and writing and mathematics showed declines this year. In ELA, 55.3% of students reached proficiency statewide, and in mathematics, 36.3% of students reached proficiency. The decline in SAT scores mirrors similar drops in other states, according to the College Board.

This year’s M-STEP results do not include statewide or school-level scores for the M-STEP science tests given in grades five, eight, and 11, because of a large-scale field test of the new science assessment system.  

Per the Michigan Department of Education, the adoption of Michigan’s updated science standards in fall 2015 created the need to replace past versions of Michigan’s M-STEP science assessment with a redesigned system aligned to the new science content standards. Science scores will be included in next year’s statewide and school-level results.