The Dawning of a New Day: M-STEP and SAT

There is no doubt that an evolving paradigm shift in the way we assess student learning is taking place.  We are moving from a summative only accountability tool to a more balanced system that promotes teaching and learning. No longer is assessment simply conducted at the end of the learning process, but is being incorporated before and within the learning process. Assessment results are moving beyond a single score to a more detailed description of student achievement that can be used by both halves of the classroom— students and teachers.

HS girl taking test 

Michigan is right on the cusp of this evolving paradigm with the advent of the newly revised assessment system, The Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (better known as M-STEP). M-STEP will be administered to students beginning this April.  The new M-STEP is geared toward assessing students at a deeper, more comprehensive level than the previously administered Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP). English language arts and mathematics will be assessed in grades 3–8, science in grades 4 and 7, and social studies in grades 5 and 8. The assessment also includes the Michigan Merit Examination in 11th grade which consists of the ACT (SAT next year), WorkKeys, and M-STEP summative in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. The M-STEP assessment is better aligned with the Michigan Career and College Readiness Standards and will provide a more accurate picture of student progress and growth toward mastery.

The new M-STEP will include Performance Tasks that contain a collection of questions and activities that are coherently connected to a single theme or scenario. These activities are designed to measure capacities such as depth of understanding, writing and research skills, and complex analysis, which cannot be adequately assessed with traditional test questions.

Additionally, due to the expiration of a one-year contract extension that expires in 2015, Michigan has adopted the SAT to replace the ACT as the required 11th Grade College Entrance Examine. This decision was based on a variety of factors including, alignment with curriculum, alignment with the M-STEP, and a financial savings to the state of nearly 15 million dollars. The SAT will be administered to all Michigan juniors beginning in March of 2016. 

The adoption of both the M-STEP and the SAT means Michigan will have a more comprehensive, balanced suite of assessments that will provide educators and students with a better, more accurate illustration of student progress and growth. Wayne RESA is committed to helping educators understand these new assessments and prepare for its administration, dissemination of data and application toward improving teaching and learning. Wayne RESA will be offering several professional learning opportunities over the next year in order to provide support regarding these assessments.

Please stay tuned for additional professional learning opportunities offered in the aftermath of M-STEP during the Summer and Fall months. As a county, we want to be prepared for what the future brings.