State may get rid of M-STEP

Posted at 10:31 AM, Mar 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-24 10:31:56-04

Schools are preparing for the M-STEP possibly for the last time. Lawmakers are looking into replacing the test which was given for the first time last spring.

"You just don't want to jump out of the frying pan into the fire," said Lansing Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul.

The Lansing school district may not be able to afford that change. The standardized test determines which school's are on the state's "priority" list. Lansing has been working hard to get some schools off it and a new test could make that even harder.

"We're really interested in having a course of action and we stick with that course of action," Caamal Canul explained. "Especially if we're going to be held accountable, and we're going to be closed, or taken over, or reconfigured by the state--based on a test."

Even though it's only been a year lawmakers are considering replacing the test.

"We need to pick a test and stick with it," said Rep. Andy Schor (D-Lansing).

Rep. Schor is open to a change as long as the new test is adaptive.

"You want to know what a child knows and it's not just A, B, C or D pick a box," he said. "I want to know if you get one right you move to the next one, if you get one wrong it's a different one that you're going to."

Other lawmakers say that decision shouldn't be made at the Capitol

"At what point will the legislature just get out of the way and let the State Board of Education do their job?," Rep. Sam Singh, (D-East Lansing), questioned. "I don't really think it's the role for us to be deciding what test is to be administered. That's for educators."

That back and forth is leaving schools like Lansing in a holding pattern.

"All of our school teachers and our principals who are working really hard to get off the priority list," Caamal Canul said. "We won't be able to get off the list again if the data doesn't count."

The state superintendent sent News 10 a statement saying he supports a "shorter standardized test" that still measures how schools are performing.

The elimination of the M-STEP is part of the K-12 funding bill that passed a state House subcommittee yesterday.