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June Teisan isn't a fan of national standardized testing for K-12 kids under the best of circumstances.

During a pandemic, when many school districts are offering remote instruction, she says it's unconscionable. But U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos says she will not grant waivers to states like Michigan that want to skip the testing this year.

Trice Clark

Today on Stateside, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says Michigan students need to take standardized tests this year. We check-in with an educator and an administrator who have thought a lot about the role of testing. Then, Detroit's creative pros talk about what design has to offer during a time of crisis. And, Michigan State takes stargazing to high heights.

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mehmet / Adobe Stock

If Michigan students return to classrooms this school year, they won’t have to take the M-STEP test.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced Friday that students in states that have closed schools will not have to take federally-mandated assessments this year.

kids at computers
U.S. Department of Education

In yet another step that would have been unthinkable just a week ago, Michigan is asking the federal government for a waiver on federally-mandated statewide student assessments this year.

In Michigan, that assessment is the M-STEP test. It’s given to all 3rd-8th and 11th graders in public schools. It was scheduled to start the week of April 13 and run through May 28.

soldier holding GI Joe the pigeon
Courtesy of the Michigan History Center

 

Today on Stateside, we talk about rethinking how we measure whether a school is succeeding or failing. Plus, a conversation with Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein about how people with disabilities bring unique, important perspectives to the workplace.

Students sitting at desks in a classroom with a teacher at the front of the room
NeONBRAND / Pixabay

Standardized testing may become less standardized for Michigan students.

The Michigan Department of Education recently asked federal department to allow up to 5 percent of Michigan school districts to create what they are calling "locally-determined innovative assessment systems."

In their proposal, the department says qualifying districts could essentially create their own test, and then choose to use these new systems in place of the statewide assessment, the M-STEP.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

If a third-grader scores poorly on standardized math and reading tests, there may be more to the problem than just the school. That's according to an eye-opening new study

The study found that students who have likely suffered abuse and neglect will then struggle in school.

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The 2017 scores for the M-STEP — the standardized test that most students in Michigan take — have been released.

It’s a mixed bag of results, with some promising signs of growth and other areas that clearly need work. M-STEP (the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress) replaced the old MEAP test in 2015. The test is administered online, and it's designed to measure students' knowledge in math, science, social studies, and English language arts.

kids at computers
U.S. Department of Education

Math and social studies scores are up among Michigan’s students, but English and reading scores are lower, according to the state’s spring 2017 M-STEP/MME results.

The Michigan Department of Education released its annual M-STEP (Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress) results Tuesday.

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The Michigan Department of Education has announced it will reduce the overall score students need to receive on an English-proficiency test after an earlier change made it more difficult for students to transition out of English learner status.

Andrew Stein, executive director of City Year Detroit, says Americorps members help at-risk students, and teachers who have to manage large class sizes.
Detroit Public Schools

Detroit public school students could soon be spending a lot less time on testing during the school year.

The Detroit Public Schools Community District is moving to cut the number of assessments they give students across the district by 70 percent — from administering 186 tests down to 57 tests.

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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.

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Michigan may soon be making changes to student testing. 

The state's Department of Education is considering adding  a standardized test that would go beyond what's included on the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (or M-STEP), which was implemented during the 2014-2015 school year. 

test with bubble answers
User Alberto G. / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

While several grades made progress in certain subject areas, at least half of Michigan students still scored below “proficient” in every single section of the 2016 state standardized test – that’s math, science, English Language Arts, and social studies.

This is only the second time students have ever taken the M-STEP (Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress) since it was first rolled out in the spring of 2015.

The 2016 M-STEP results come out Tuesday morning
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How did Michigan students do on the statewide, standardized test this year?

That's what we'll find out Tuesday morning, when the state Department of Education releases the spring 2016 results of the M-STEP.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder is urging calm ahead of Michigan's release of the lowest-performing public schools, saying there is a "misperception" that schools will be closed.

He said Friday that Michigan is required to publish the bottom 5 percent list by next week, but he told The Associated Press it is wrong to assume listed schools will receive closure notices.

test with bubble answers
User Alberto G. / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 Michigan’s state superintendent has outlined his “vision” for student assessments, and it seems like students might be in for more big changes.

Brian Whiston addressed lawmakers from two State House education panels Wednesday.

The state currently uses the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) to measure student achievement.

This is only the second year for the M-STEP, which students take in the spring.

But Whiston, who took over as state superintendent in July, advocates a different approach.

test with bubble answers
User Alberto G. / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Third- and fourth-graders at Savage Elementary School in Belleville did really well on the math section of the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress – M-STEP – last year.

So well, in fact, school district administrators were a little confused.

The M-STEP is designed to be harder than earlier state tests, and students took it for the first time last school year.

test with bubble answers
User Alberto G. / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan students struggled with the state’s new standardized test.

The Michigan Department of Education on Tuesday released the first results from Michigan’s new M-STEP test which replaced the MEAP.

Mr.TinDC / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

The Michigan Senate passed a pair of bills (SB 209 and SB 211) this week that promote teaching of civics principles from the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Michigan Constitution for all public school students.

The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, is intended to fill holes in civics education that Colbeck says leave many Americans unable to demonstrate basic knowledge about how government works.

test with bubble answers
User Alberto G. / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Today’s the deadline for teachers and students to tell the state how Michigan's new standardized test went.

The test is called the M-STEP, and students took it for the first time this year.

Benjamin Chun / Flickr creative commons

The Ann Arbor school board is rethinking how it deals with students who opt out of state tests.

The board is scrapping a controversial proposal to remove kids from magnet schools if they opt out of state tests. An online petition protesting that move got more than 700 signatures.  

Alberto G. / Flickr creative commons

As the Ann Arbor school board considers cracking down on students who opt out of state tests, we’re now getting a clearer picture of why the board is so worried about the “opt out” movement.

The Michigan Department of Education says it could cut a portion of any district’s federal funding, if a single school in that district misses a test-participation requirement for four years in a row.

kids at computers
U.S. Department of Education

Officials at Michigan’s Department of Education say schools are ready for the new standardized test. The eight-week window to take it opens today.

The new test measures kids’ understanding of core subjects. But unlike the old test, the new one is online.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Nearly 800,000 Michigan students are scheduled to take a new standardized test this month. But some parents may opt their kids out of the test.

The new Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress, or M-STEP, is replacing the old MEAP test.  Third through 8th grade students will take the M-STEP exam beginning next week.  Roughly 80% of the students will take the test online. 

But some groups oppose the new test and its ties to Common Core standards.  They are encouraging parents to pull their children from the testing.

Kalamazoo College will no longer require students to provide their ACT or SAT scores when they apply. 

Instead, admissions officials will look more closely at the classes applicants took in high school, and their GPA. 

ACT fights Michigan’s decision to switch to SAT

Jan 14, 2015
morgueFile

The ACT is appealing Michigan’s decision to switch its eleventh grade standardized test to the SAT.

The state gives high school juniors a free college entrance exam as part of their state assessment.

The ACT claims the state’s bidding process unfairly favored the SAT. For example, it said ACT lost points because it includes a writing portion.

State officials say they made an extra effort to make sure the bidding process was fair.

Mercedes Mejia

Eleventh grade is a pretty stressful year for kids. There's the ACT (which will soon be replaced by the SAT). There are college tours to schedule, and applications to complete.

And the stress level is about to to get amped up. That's because Michigan's high school juniors face a much heavier load of testing this spring.

Chastity Pratt Dawsey joined us. She reports on education for Bridge Magazine. Jeffrey Bohl also joined us: he's the principal of Lakeview High School in Battle Creek.

Chalkboard
user alkruse24 / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

What might the lame-duck legislative session hold for Michigan schools?

This is the time lawmakers often make a big push to pass pet bills and there are several in play right now that could mean big changes for students and teachers.

Chastity Pratt Dawsey, reporter for Bridge Magazine, and Michelle Richard, senior consultant for Public Sector Consultants, joined us today.

You can listen to our conversation with them below:


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This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss a move to fix the state’s roads, the most recent ruling involving same-sex laws, and a new standardized test for Michigan’s public schools.


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