M-STEP: A Parent’s Guide
From ChalkBeat Detroit’s
Parents, here are a few things you’ll need to know about this year’s Michigan Student Test for Educational Progress — also known as the M-STEP — which will include tests for students from grades 3-11 that will mostly be taken online.
New exam for some middle school students
Your eighth-grader will take a different exam this year. In addition to state-produced tests in social studies and science, the eighth-graders will also take the PSAT — a practice exam for the SAT — in literacy and math. The PSAT will also be given to students in grades 9 and 10, as it has in previous years.
Know when your child will be tested
Schools will test students at various points over the next eight weeks, according to this assessment schedule. See the schedule for more test dates.
What are the stakes?
You may be wondering what’s at stake if your child fails the state exam. That’s something that will be determined on a school-by-school and student-by-student basis. There are bigger stakes for schools, though. Persistent low performance on state exams could get a school identified for improvement, and failure to improve could result in sanctions that include closure.
Meanwhile, state law requires that 40% of a teacher’s year-end evaluation must be based on student growth and assessment data (though current legislation would lower it to 25%). This school year, the law requires that half of the growth and assessment data being used must be based on the state exam for those teachers who teach subjects tested on the exam.
When you’ll see the results
Your child may take the exam in April, but it’ll be awhile before you actually see the results. You’re probably wondering why it takes so long to get back the results of an exam that’s taken on the computer. But keep in mind that there are some components of the exam, such as essays and open-ended questions, that must be hand-scored.
Want to help your child prepare?
The MDE has a handy web site where your child can view and answer a number of sample questions by grade level and subject. These aren’t actual questions from the exam, but they reflect the kind of questions students will encounter when faced with the real thing.
Parents, you may have even more questions about the state exams. Confused about all the different types of exams your child has to take during the school year? This guide breaks down the different types of tests. Here, you can find more details about the M-STEP. Find out what to do to help your child prepare for the M-STEP here. This video gives students a short breakdown of what to expect: