Troy students top state averages in M-STEP

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published September 18, 2019

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TROY — Troy School District students’ standardized test scores are well above state and county averages, according to results from the Michigan Department of Education.

Students in all grades in the Troy School District exceeded state and county averages in all subjects tested in the recent Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress exams.

This is the fourth year that students in the Troy School District have taken the test online.

Students across the state took the M-STEP for the first time in the 2014-15 school year. The test replaced the Michigan Educational Assessment Program, or MEAP, test. Troy School District students took the first M-STEP exams with paper and pencil, before the test was moved online.

District and school M-STEP results are available at www.mischool data.org.

Statewide, third and fourth grade English language arts scores on the 2019 M-STEP showed “modest gains for the second straight year,” the Michigan Department of Education stated in a press release.

“English language arts scores by Michigan sixth graders also increased, as did math scores for third, fifth and sixth grade students,” states the release.

“We appreciate the gains made this year in our early grades,” State Superintendent Michael Rice said in the release. “Focus and attention on early childhood education and early literacy are beginning to bear fruit, and continued efforts in these areas will keep Michigan moving forward.

“Despite a significant number of snow days for 822 school districts due to the harsh winter weather, test scores in many places increased or remained consistent, even with fewer instructional days,” Rice noted.

“The severe winter weather across Michigan forced the closure of school by an average of 11 days last school year, with 144 districts being closed 14 days or more,” the release states.

In the Troy School District, scores stayed pretty flat from last year, while eighth grade ELA scores jumped nearly 20 points from last year’s scores. Eighth grade math scores increased by about 10 points.

However, fifth grade math and social studies, and seventh grade math scores dipped from last year’s scores in Troy.

“The scores themselves are pretty consistent year over year and continue to mimic patterns across the state or changes in the cut scores (the way the tests are scored),” said Troy School District Superintendent Rich Machesky.

“It’s a snapshot in time. It’s hard to glean much from these,” he said, explaining that students take the test in April, and the scores aren’t released until September.

Machesky said that Troy School District officials have had discussions with representatives of the Michigan Department of Education to advocate for getting scores out more quickly and having more explanation on how the tests are scored, which would better inform the curriculum and instructional decisions that Troy School District officials make.

Machesky said that students in the Troy School District missed six days due to the weather last year, much less than school districts in the western and northern parts of the state, which in some cases missed 12 days.

“We didn’t have to ask for an extension of the school year” in order to make the days up, Machesky said.

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