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Dear Superintendents and Principals:

Beginning in mid-April, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) will administer, for the third year, the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) to students in grades 3-8. This year, the M-STEP will be given online to over 98 percent of students and will measure current student knowledge of Michigan’s high academic standards in English language arts (ELA), mathematics, science, and social studies.

High school students in grades 9 and 10 will continue to take the PSAT in preparation for the SAT college entrance exam given to high school juniors as part of the Michigan Merit Exam (MME). The MME continues to include a free SAT that also measures student knowledge on state English language arts and mathematics standards, M-STEP science and social studies components, and the ACT WorkKeys assessment. 

M-STEP will Continue through 2017-18

Michigan’s assessment vision, designed to promote our goal to become a top 10 education state within 10 years, calls for a transition to a new system of assessments beginning in the 2018-19 school year. This means the assessment system laid out above will remain in place for the 2017-18 school year. 

Next Steps

MDE staff, in collaboration with various stakeholders groups as part of the development of our Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan, are working to finalize plans so we can implement the vision successfully There are some decisions that we can communicate now:

  • We are looking at a launch of the new system for the 2018–19 school year.
  • The decision has been made to transition the 8th grade assessment from the M-STEP to the PSAT 8/9 for math and English language arts.
  • We are looking at a system where a variety of benchmark exams will be used each year that include:
    • a required benchmark assessment in the fall.
    • a group-work/problem solving activity in the winter (optional).
    • required comprehensive benchmark assessments in the spring (similar to the M-STEP).

Michigan’s assessment vision has been described in recent presentations to education stakeholder groups and to the State Board of Education. This presentation is located on the ESSA State Plan web page (www.michigan.gov/essa). Click on the Assessment Implementation link. Future assessment updates will be available on Michigan’s ESSA page and through the Spotlight newsletter. 

State Assessment Resources and Materials Now Available

As the M-STEP/MME testing window approaches, schools and teachers may start to get questions from parents regarding how their children will experience state testing in 2017. The communications team at the MDE has prepared several helpful documents that can help you communicate with parents before the April 10, 2017 testing window opens. These documents can also assist you in answering questions that might arise—including requests to allow children to “opt out” of testing. 

Available now on the M-STEP (www.michigan.gov/mstep) and MME (www.michigan.gov/mme) web pages under the What’s New and Parent/Student Information sections: 

Note: Remember, while we support parents in making educational choices for their children, there is no allowable opt out provided in state or federal law. Students who are not assessed will count against their schools’ participation rate, which will influence how the district’s success is reported in Michigan’s Accountability Scorecard.

This popular one-page handout has been updated.

This NEW resource helps put state assessment into perspective and provides practical tips on how families can ease students’ anxieties and foster success. (Spanish and Arabic translations coming soon.)

This video provides an overview of what students can expect, including types of questions included in the M-STEP assessment administered in grades 3-8 and 11.

Also available on the MI-Access web page (www.michigan.gov/mi-access):

In-depth Assessment Information

Additional Materials Coming Soon

  • Michigan State Assessment Communication Toolkit.
  • M-STEP/MME Parent Report Video.
  • This update video will provide an easy-to-understand summary of the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) assessment and walks viewers through how to read and interpret student scores within the M-STEP and Michigan Merit Exam Parent Reports.
  • Spanish and Arabic versions of Michigan’s State Assessment System: What it is, What it Means – And What it Offers document.

Note: Similar information will also be placed in the 3.23.17 Spotlight on Student Assessment and Accountability