Reading 'proficiency' varies by test

LANSING, Mich. - While Michigan's own standardized testing program showed that reading scores were up in 2009, a national report says that Michigan trails other states in teaching its children to read well by fourth grade, according to media reports.

In March, the Michigan Department of Education announced that 90 percent of the state's third-graders and 84 percent of fourth- graders scored well enough on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program tests to be considered "proficient" readers.

But a news release about the recent Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count report put Michigan's fourth-grade reading proficiency at 30 percent. The Kids Count results are based on the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests, according to the foundation.

The report ranked Michigan 34th nationally on fourth-grade reading proficiency, the Lansing State Journal reported, with white children and those in high-income families scoring higher than minority or low-income children. Reading well by the end of third grade is considered an important indicator of future success in school, the Journal reported.

Responding to the report, the Michigan Department of Education plans a new pre-kindergarten to adult literacy initiative, based on programs in Kentucky and Massachusetts, according to an Associated Press report posted at

SOURCES:, "Michigan plans pre-K to adult literacy campaign," May 18, 2010

Lansing State Journal, "Michigan third-graders struggle to keep up in reading," May 18, 2010

The Annie E. Casey Foundation, "Kids Count Data Center," May 18, 2010

Michigan Education Digest, "MEAP reading scores up," March 16, 2010