More than half of Michigan students are not reading at grade level, according to results released by the Michigan Department of Education.
Although the state has invested over $100 million to improve literacy, the marginal improvement shows there is still a long way to go.
Third and fourth graders slightly improved in the English language arts portion of the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress. Results increased from 44.1 percent to 44.4 percent for third graders and from 44.2 percent to 45 percent for fourth graders.
However, fifth through eighth graders' proficiency in the same portion decreased compared to last year, meaning a majority of them failed the test that measures reading, writing, listening and language.
The results across the board are similarly grim.
Math scores all dropped for third, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders. Fourth-grade scores showed no change, staying at 42 percent for both 2017 and 2018.
Social studies scores dropped for fifth and eighth graders, but increased for 11th graders from 46 percent to 48.5 percent.
Despite the low proficiency scores, the Michigan Department of Education is optimistic that once literacy efforts are fully implemented, the scores will increase.
“More work needs to be done on English language arts in the upper grades, and math and Social Studies overall,” said Interim State Superintendent Sheila Alles. “State assessment results, when combined with classroom work, report cards, local district assessments, and other tools, offer a comprehensive view of student achievement.
In 2015, Michigan identified early literacy gaps as a focus area for policy and program support for learners. These programs support specific recommendations to ensure strong literacy skills by third grade. Programs include:
- Added instructional time grants that support districts in providing additional supports for students who struggle in reading
- Literacy coaches at intermediate school districts
- Assessment reimbursement grants for the use of screening and diagnostic tools to help identify specific student needs
- Funds for a literacy coach network and resources to learn the best practices to support all students
This year's M-STEP results do not include scores for the science tests given in grades 5, 8, 11 due to a large-scale field test of the new science assessment system.
To find the scores for a specific school, click here.