- Sponsorship -

Amid Mounting Pressures, Districts Face Changing Tests and Schedules

Following months of back-and-forth debate from the state concerning Common Core, the national set of educational standards, teachers and administrators now are preparing for a revised version of the old MEAP test to be given this spring.

The MEAP was previously given in the fall. Legislators balked in June on plans to administer the previously-planned Smarter Balance, a Common Core-aligned test.

So now, students in grades three through eight will take the The Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress – M-STEP, which is the revised MEAP. The testing schedule works like this:

  • Students in grade three and six will take English language arts and math
  • Students in grades four and seven will take science, English language arts and math
  • Students in grade five will take social studies, English language arts and math
  • Students in grade eight will take social studies, English language arts and math
  • Students in grade 11 will also take M-STEP summative assessments in English language arts (ELA), mathematics, science, and social studies.

The tests will primarily be taken online, with a paper and pencil option for schools not yet technology-ready, explained Dorothy VanderJagt, director of Teaching and Learning for Kent ISD.

The M-STEP could be replaced again in 2015-2016 with a different test that aligns with the Common Core, the national set of educational standards. The state is currently seeking proposals from companies to develop the 2015-2016 test.

High School juniors will will take the Michigan Merit Exam, which is a set of several tests, including one that helps predict college readiness, the ACT. But, school districts were just told the state would switch the college readiness exam for all high school juniors from ACT to SAT, beginning in 2016. Many schools have worked hard to align content to the ACT test, or even purchased additional resources like the ACT Aspire, to help students prepare for this test.

Now the SAT will provide the college test, giving districts little time to help students make the switch.

The former college test provider, ACT Inc., will continue to provide the WorkKeys tests, typically taken on the last day of testing for all high school juniors, according toinformation from the Michigan Department of Education. These tests qualify students for the National Career Readiness Certificate, a credential that demonstrates students can apply their academic study to the workplace.

High-Stakes Testing has Created ‘Winners and Losers’

High-stakes standardized testing has been a lightning rod for controversy through the enactment of educational programs including President Bush’s No Child Left Behind  and Adequate Yearly Progress standards more than a decade ago, President Obama’s Race to the Top initiatives, and currently because of nationwide debate surrounding Common Core.

Test scores are the determining factor on how a school performs. Proficient or not-proficient scores can affect a school’s reputation; enrollment, which is tied to school funding, and even whether a teacher is considered effective. Results are posted publicly and government-intervention and state takeovers are possible when an entire student body fails to meet standards.

The original purpose of standardized testing was to monitor how well a student is doing in school, but it’s become something different, said Kentwood Superintendent Michael Zoerhoff.

“It became a score card, a game with winners and losers, when the whole point was to get kids to be their best,” Zoerhoff said.


Test Stress: Standardized Testing Poses Uncertainty for Teachers, Administrators

- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.


Fourth-grade hockey fan gets a magical hour on ice: ‘I made the shot!’

Raised as a Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins hockey fan, Jackson Solow lights up while skating on an ice rink wearing his favorite hockey jersey...

‘This time it is continued learning’

One school’s switch from in-person to virtual education last week was nearly seamless, especially when compared with the forced school closure in March...

Foundation grants $28,285 in fall funding requests

Virtual phys ed and art experiences, materials to improve classroom focus and books on social issues aimed at middle-schoolers are among the grants approved this fall...

Latest school closings expand on state-ordered high school mandate

More Kent County districts continue to announce temporary school building closures, as schools contend with a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Kent County and Michigan...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Have cart, will travel

A Southeast Kelloggsville Elementary music teacher has a new cart for her ukuleles, thanks to her school, her husband and the Kent Career Tech Center...

Class of 2021 has ‘test-optional’ choice when applying for college

Most schools in the state of Michigan have become SAT/ACT-optional for the Class of 2021 for admission purposes. There are, however, pros and cons for students...

KCTC and KTC Core students roll up their sleeves to help reduce water runoff at Kent ISD

The water from the Kent ISD area feeds into the Lamberton Creek watershed. The plants will aid in reducing the amount added to the creek...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU