The Michigan Department of Education is considering a program to credit schools for students who achieved proficiency and making progress toward proficiency on exams such as the Michigan Educational Assessment Program.
The next step is for the U.S. Department of Education to review the proposal, said Joseph Martineau, director of the Bureau of Assessment and Accountability for the Michigan Department of Education.
“The literature on accountability argues for this type of system that combines both status (achieving proficiency) and growth (progress toward proficiency),” Martineau said.
Mary Jane Evink, curriculum specialist for Grand Haven Area Public Schools, said the district finds the change would make it helpful in measuring student growth. She said students might not yet be proficient, but they are making strides.
“This (change) reflects a shift in values we are seeing in education,” Evink said. “There is more emphasis being placed on student growth.”
Martineau said the change would give schools an incentive to focus on lower-achieving students.
“By giving schools credit for moving forward their lowest-achieving students, this gives schools an incentive to focus on those lowest-achieving students rather than throwing up their hands in frustration that they are not able to move them all the way to proficiency in a single year,” he explained.
Spring Lake Public Schools Superintendent Dennis Furton said he supports an accountability system that recognizes growth and proficiency.
“Doing so rewards schools and teachers that are utilizing the best methods and research to help students who haven't achieved benchmark status,” he said.
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