Local students see improvements in M-STEP performance

Krystle Wagner • Aug 30, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Statewide and locally, students are making proficiency gains on the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP).

The Michigan Department of Education on Tuesday released results from the state assessment test that students in grades 3-8 took this past spring.

Overall, Michigan math and social studies scores improved in almost every grade. SAT scores also improved for high school juniors.

Statewide, math scores improved 2.6 percent in all grades except fourth. In grades 5, 8 and 11, social studies scores increased.

State Superintendent Brian Whiston said it’s exciting that math and social studies scores are improving, but “the English language arts scores are disappointing.” Student proficiency in English language arts decreased in all grades except fifth.

Student scores are rated as “not proficient,” “partially proficient,” “proficient” and “advanced.” The number of students considered “advanced” or “proficient” increased in 10 subjects among the 18 grade-subject combinations tested.

Whiston said it’s important for local school districts to examine the scores and data “to look for paths to improvement.”

“It is important that we keep working with (intermediate school districts) and local school districts to provide support and assistance to help all of their students achieve at high levels,” he said. “We keep moving forward on our goal to be a Top 10 education state in 10 years, and know that the early work we’re putting into motion will pay positive dividends in the very near future.”

Here are some results from local schools:

Grand Haven Area Public Schools

Superintendent Andy Ingall noted the district’s math proficiency continues to make gains, which is the result of focused and intentional efforts.

Eighth-graders considered “advanced,” “proficient” or “partially proficient” increased from 73.1 percent to 87.9 percent this year.

Fifth-graders also improved in social studies — from 89.7 percent to 91.2 percent this year.

Instructional Services Director Mary Jane Evink said they’re also working toward all students being proficient, and they’re proud of the literacy achievements. Some of the efforts aimed at improving proficiency include small groups, interventions and collaboration on reading instruction, she said.

The Grand Haven school district uses M-STEP results to help identify students who need additional support, Evink said. Some reports from the Michigan Department of Education also help them see specific skills or standards students are missing by building and grade level. They use that information to adjust instruction, she said.

Ingall said that M-STEP scores “reflect the collective effort of staff, students and parents.”

“We are grateful to see evidence of improvement and growth in many places,” he said.

Spring Lake Public Schools

The M-STEP results are a validation of what the district has noticed on other data throughout the year, said Curriculum Director Scott Ely.

In math, students grew in almost every grade level, and “reading growth was also substantial,” Ely said.

Spring Lake educators have worked on aligning resources, curriculum and best practices.

“Those efforts are starting to pay off,” Ely said. “We see gains in most of our data sets, which are not limited to M-STEP.”

Third-graders considered “advanced,” “proficient” or “partially proficient” in English language arts increased from 94 percent to 96.6 percent. Third-graders’ math also improved from 96.8 percent to 97.1 percent.

“Our Spring Lake Schools Foundation has generously contributed to the purchase of resources in both math and reading,” Ely said. “At the same time, our teachers have made a direct effort to develop and teach an aligned curriculum. We have also invested in training in both areas.’

West Michigan Academy of Arts and Academics

Proficiency gains in English language arts are among some of the M-STEP results for West Michigan Academy of Arts and Academics students.

Third-graders considered “advanced,” “proficient” or “partially proficient” in English language arts increased from 71.4 percent last year to 73.8 percent this year. In social studies, fifth-graders were up from 71.7 to 85 percent.

Assistant Director Tighe Carter said they’ve worked on aligning curriculum in regards to English language arts and math.

M-STEP offers a glance at student proficiency at one point in time. The K-8 charter school also uses data from the Measures of Academic Progress assessment to monitor student growth throughout the year.

Carter said they’re continuously looking at ways to improve.

“For us, it’s about trying to continue to improve in the classrooms so we can better serve our students and our community,” he said.

For more results, visit www.mischooldata.org.

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