Michigan students were less proficient in reading and more proficient in math and social studies in the latest round of statewide standardized tests.

M-STEP results were released Tuesday by the state Department of Education.

Mathematics scores increased in grades 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8, or all but grade 4, which increased 2.6 percentage points in 2016. Social studies scores increased in grades 5, 8 and 11.

“The Spring 2017 results show math and social studies scores are continuing to improve, and that is exciting news,” said State Superintendent Brian Whiston. “The English language arts scores are disappointing, however.”

Where in 2016, English language arts (ELA) scores increased in three of six grades last year, student proficiency scores in 2017 decreased in all but Grade 5, which showed an increase of .5 points. Decreases ranged from .8 pts in Grade 8 to 2.3 points in Grade 7. Grade 3 declined 1.9 points. A three-year (2015-17) comparison of ELA scores show increases in grades 5 and 8 of 2.4 and .4 points respectively. Decreases ranged from 1.1 points in Grade 6 to 5.9 points in Grade 3.

Whiston said that it is important for schools and districts with the help of their intermediate school districts to carefully examine these scores and other data to look for paths to improvement.

“It is important that we keep working with ISDs and local school districts to provide support and assistance to help all of their students achieve at higher levels,” Whiston said. “We keep moving forward on our goal to be a Top 10 education state in 10 years and know that the early work we’re putting into motion will pay positive dividends in the very near future.

“I am confident that investments into Early Childhood education and literacy supports will bring improvement and growth,” Whiston said. “We need to stay focused and diligent.”

Whiston is currently working to establish a new state testing system - one that takes less time and benchmarks progress throughout the academic year.

District and building M-STEP results are available at www.mischooldata.org. Downloadable data is available at www.michigan.gov/mstep.

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