State assessment scores take a dive amid COVID-19 pandemic


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)–The COVID-19 pandemic caused a shift in learning, and now tests scores this year have dipped ever since the last statewide assessments in 2019.

Students did not take the M-STEP in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Michigan Department of Education and the state’s Center for Educational Performance and Information partnered with the Michigan Data Hub and two university research partners to compile the benchmark assessment data.

In the report produced by EPIC Michigan students in all grade levels appeared to make less than normal progress towards learning goals.

“The 2020-21 school year was such an uneven year with high health risks for students and staff, inconsistent technology, and variations in teaching and learning across the state,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “Any analysis of M-STEP results must factor in low participation rates in state testing.”

This year students sporadically spread out in grade levels who scored proficient or above in math, social studies, and ELA declined.

“In spite of the extraordinary efforts of educators, support staff, school leaders, parents, the broader community, and students themselves, the disruption of the pandemic has inevitably resulted in unfinished learning for many of our children,” Dr. Rice said. “Results from the state summative assessments and the local benchmark assessments show that some students were able to make relatively normal gains, while many others will be working with their teachers to accelerate their learning to catch up to where they otherwise would have been in the absence of the pandemic. In Michigan and across the country, we have our work cut out for us.”

Several state officials requested that the state of Michigan would waive M-STEP assessments for 2021 again. However, the state legislature mandated that certain district-chosen benchmark assessments showing teachers and parents how a student was performing academically.

All students did not take the M-STEP test this year compared to previous years so learning gaps and outside factors would not add to a student’s ability to not perform at the best level. This year the tests were only offered in-person, or hybrid learning situations.

“Districts are encouraged to dig into their data at the school and district levels to better understand and address gaps,” Dr. Rice said. “Educators know what we need to do and have already begun to do it, with longer summer school programs, accelerated learning, with greater creativity, for more children, and with earlier school year starts.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan state legislature appropriated $6 billion in state and federal funds to local school districts for:

  • expanded learning opportunities over the summer;
  • additional learning time this school year;
  • increased access to early education for more children through the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP);
  • additional literacy and math supports;
  • expansion of social and emotional learning and children’s mental health supports with additional funding to hire more school counselors, social workers, psychologists, and nurses, and professional development for teachers and support staff in social emotional learning;
  • smaller class sizes, particularly at the lower grade levels;
  • improved environmental conditions in schools; and
  • higher educator salaries, particularly in the beginning years of the profession.

To learn more about this year’s state assessment scores visit

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