Are Michigan’s schools improving? According to a new analysis of national testing data, the answer is a clear “no.”
The report, authored by University of Michigan professor Brian A. Jacob, looked at the scores of 4th- and 8th-grade students on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The nationally administered test measures for proficiency in reading and math.
“We found that Michigan students are performing very poorly on national exams, really no matter how you cut the data,” Jacob said. “If you look at straight proficiency rates, Michigan is 41st out of 50 states. And then if you look at the change in proficiency between 2003 and 2015, it turns out that Michigan is the only state in the country where proficiency rates have actually declined over time. It is 50 out of 50.”
What is Michigan doing wrong? To answer that question, Jacob highlighted some of the states at the opposite end of the spectrum.
Massachusetts, for instance, ranked near the top for both proficiency and proficiency growth over the past decade. It also has among the highest levels 0f per-pupil funding, one area where Michigan has lagged.
“Michigan doesn’t have the lowest per-pupil funding in the country,” Jacob said. “But the funding is only at modest levels and has not increased substantially over the past decade, compared to some of the other highest-performing states, where they really have devoted some of the most resources to education.”
Jacob also discussed the role of charter school oversight in Michigan’s education system, and the effect of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Listen to the full conversation above.