M-STEP test results show loss of learning for many students in Michigan due to pandemic

Posted at 11:52 AM, Aug 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-31 18:25:13-04

(WXYZ) — Michigan student scores in the M-STEP test dropped in 2020-2021 from the previous year the test was taken, according to the results released Tuesday by the Michigan Department of Education.

According to the state, the year and a half of disrupted learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic led to the drop in state results.

"In Michigan and across the country, we have our work cut out for us," Michigan State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice said in a release.

Students didn't take the M-STEP in 2020, and said that participation rates were low, with students taking the English-Language Arts (ELA) & Math M-STEP tests ranging by grade and subject from 64%-72%.

Dr. Casandra Ulbrich, the state board of education president, and Rice, requested the U.S. Department of Education waive the M-STEP tests for the second straight year, but that request was denied.

According to the state, those who took the M-STEP this year were less likely to be students of color, economically disadvantaged students or English learners.

The state said that a new report found students who participated were more likely to be White and less likely to be economically disadvantaged or eligible for special education or English learning services.

“In spite of the extraordinary efforts of educators, support staff, school leaders, parents, the broader community, and students themselves, the disruption of the pandemic has inevitably resulted in unfinished learning for many of our children,” Rice added in the release.

According to the state, students made less than normal progress toward learning goals in the past year.

The state also said that 3,661 third-grade students had scores that made them eligible to repeat because of low reading scores. This is the first year that third-grade students were subject ot the state's Read by Grade 3 retention law.

When looking at English-Language Arts scores for grades 3-8 and 11, the percentage of those proficient dropped for all grades but 8th and 11th.

In social studies, the percentage of those proficient or above dropped for all three grades measured – 5th, 8th and 11th. For math, it dropped for all grades – 3rd-8th and 11th.

According to the state, they are taking action to respond to the unfinished learning Michigan students suffered. That includes additional learning time in the school year, additional literacy and math supports, smaller class sizes and much more.

“Educators know what we need to do and have already begun to do it, with longer summer school programs, accelerated learning, with greater creativity, for more children, and with earlier school year starts," Rice added in a release. “Across the country, it will require intense focus to address the gaps so apparent pre-pandemic and, in some cases and places, more so after 18 months of the pandemic.”