Statewide Student Test Scores Are In and the News Isn't Good

'Michigan students are treading water'

Thank goodness for Michigan’s fifth-graders.

The results are in for statewide student tests administered last spring, and fifth-graders provided the highlight: More than half made a score deemed ‘proficient’ on one of the four subject-area tests administered. But not by much.

Specifically, 50.6 percent of fifth-graders scored ‘proficient’ or better in English, saving the state from having the majority of every grouping of grade and subject branded as less than proficient in English, math, science and social studies.

The fifth-graders’ math test was one of 18 grade and subject groupings covering students from third to 11th grade in those four subjects. The worst results were in science, where just 14.7 percent of fourth-graders were proficient. Of the 11th-graders, 33 percent were proficient, which was the best performance from the three grades tested in that subject.

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"We think if this isn't a wakeup call to improve public education in the state of Michigan, we don't know what is," said Gary Naeyaert, the executive director of the Great Lakes Education Project.

The Michigan Department of Education said the results were released earlier than previous years. Last year, the results were released in December. The education department also said testing time for students varied from four to eight hours, which was less than 1 percent of total instruction time for the school year.

The department’s goal is to raise Michigan’s performance so that it can be a top 10 state in education within 10 years.

“Overall, Michigan students are treading water compared to last year’s results,” said Ben DeGrow, the director of education policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. “When our state is already rated among the lowest in academic achievement, that’s not an encouraging place to be.”

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