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Michigan third grade students low test scores flagged for retention

Posted at 9:47 AM, Sep 03, 2022

EAST LANSING, Mich. — A recent report reveals an increasing number of Michigan third graders are eligible to be held back.

“These are students who are scoring a 1252 or below on the third grade ELA M-Step, which is the cut point that was determined for students who are scoring at least a grade level behind on the third grade ELA M-Step,” said Katharine Strunk, the director of Education Policy Innovation Collaborative at MSU.

Michigan State University's Education Policy Innovation Collaborative worked with the Michigan Department of Education to analyze benchmark assessments taken in the spring.

They found roughly 56,000 Michigan students who took the ELA M-Step are eligible to repeat third grade.

Low reading scores aren’t the only concern, Strunk said that 15% of African American students are eligible for retention scoring a 1252 or below.

“African American students are four and a half times as likely to be scoring at that level than white students. And similarly, low-income students are about four and a half times as likely to be scoring at that level as their wealthier peers,” she said.

The EPIC report reveals that although retention eligibility rates have increased since 2018, districts that were primarily remote in 2020-21 experienced the largest increase in students flagged for retention.

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