The state released the results of its new standardized tests this week. The scores schools achieved on the M-STEP paint a picture of inequity.
About 1%, or only one fourth grader in Detroit’s Education Achievement Authority passed the math portion of the exam. Only 5.6% passed the English portion of the test.
The EAA is a district created by Governor Rick Snyder and is made up of the most failing schools in the state. Most are impoverished and behind when they start school.
A spokesperson for the governor’s office says students have shown progress, but more time is needed to achieve success at the level desired. The EAA says teacher training programs are in place to help more kids succeed.
"While the M-STEP scores provide us a clear baseline for where our students stand academically and the educational gap we urgently need to address, it does not represent the future of our schools, the ability of our students, or the dedication they and our staff demonstrate on a daily basis," said EAA Chancellor Veronica Conforme regarding the scores. "We’ve made progress in other crucial areas that will continue to support academic growth for our students. These include developing teachers and leaders, implementing a high quality curriculum and providing social and emotional support service for our students and families."
The new test raises expectations considerably for our schools, and our team is actively working to bring our students to that level.”
The EAA’s numbers are dismal compared to the state averages. About 41% of 4th graders passed the math portion of the test and 47% English.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are Troy Schools. It had some of the best scores in the state.
“I think a lot of people outside the Troy district look at the district as more fortunate, higher economic status, automatically set with kids that do well on the test,” said Schroeder Elementary School Principal Brian Canfield. “But it is more than that. The teachers do so much. A lot goes into it.”
He says he believes use of research, collaboration between schools, parent involvement and the district’s focus on literacy contribute to success. Eighty-seven percent of kids district wide passed the English language portion of the test.
“You have to be able to read all of those questions in order to answer them correctly,” said Laurie Harnasch, a reading specialist in the school.
She says the advice she has for schools that want to improve their students’ scores is focus helping struggling readers.
“Early intervention. It is what works,” said Harnasch.
Want to know how your child’s school ranks? You can find them here.