The Michigan Department of Education has announced that students in Michigan will be taking the M-STEP test this year.

The M-STEP is a standardized test given to Michigan students in 3rd through 8th grade, and again in 11th grade. The test is normally given each year to students in Michigan, but most educators had hoped that would not be the case this year. In January Michigan educators asked that the M-STEP testing be postponed due to the lack of in person learning during the pandemic.

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A letter from the Michigan Department of Education delivered bad news this week, as it announced that the M-STEP testing would go on as scheduled. This has quite a few teachers and local school officials upset. The letter basically passed the blame onto the Biden administration, saying that testing was still important during the pandemic.

State assessment and accountability systems play an important role in advancing educational equity. At the same time, it is clear that the pandemic requires significant flexibility for the 2020-2021 school year so that states can respond to the unique circumstances they are facing; keep students, staff, and their families safe; and maintain their immediate focus on supporting students’ social, emotional, and academic development

So even though the MDE is recognizing the challenges that the pandemic will pose to students and teachers, they have decided the M-STEP is necessary this year.

There are a couple of major problems in my mind with conducting the M-STEP this year. The first, and most obvious is the lack of in person teaching that has happened because of the pandemic. The schools have done an incredible job of pivoting, and making sure students have multiple learning modalities, but nothing replaces being in the classroom. The second problem is that many Michigan teachers evaluations are impacted by students M-STEP scores.

This could impact teachers financially in the future. Imagine going through the most difficult teaching year of your career, only to find out that poor test scored impacted your pay. It's no wonder that so many Michigan educators are furious.

I don't think this will be the end of the discussion about the M-STEP.


SEE MORE: Michigan Teacher Making Virtual School An Adventure

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