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An introduction to the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress

FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 2016 13:58 PM

According to the Michigan Department of Education, state legislation required the MDE to develop a new standardized test for the 2015 school year. Students in grades 3 through 11 take the exam, called the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress. Learn more about M-STEP below:

M-STEP format
If you have children in the Michigan school system, you will encounter the M-STEP. It's helpful to know the exam's format to assist your children in preparing for the tests. The subjects your children must partake in depend on their grade levels. All students in 3rd through 8th grade must participate in English language arts and mathematics testing. Children in grades 4 through 7 complete science exams. Students in 5th and 8th grade are assigned M-STEP social studies exams. Students in 11th grade will partake in English language arts, science, social studies and math M-STEP testing, as well as WorkKeys, the Michigan Merit Examination, and the ACT Plus Writing. 

Students take the M-STEP exams on a computer. The tests include multiple choice questions and are intuitive - questions change based on the students' answers. For example, if a child gets the question correct, the next query will be a little harder. This setup is meant to more accurately measure student achievement and allow for individuals to show what they've learned.

Reasoning behind the testing
School administrators don't proctor standardized testing for fun. These assessments provide important insight into student growth. Children who score well on the M-STEP are ready to graduate to the next grade. Those who haven't learned the information to pass require extra assistance before they advance. The yearly testing helps ready students for their next grade levels and provides them with the knowledge needed to enter college once they've completed high school. 

Why your kids should do practice tests
Plenty of students take standardized tests without any outside-of-school preparation. While this isn't always a bad idea, you can give your kids some extra assistance by having them do practice tests. These example exams offer question samples that will appear on the M-STEP and help your kids become familiarized with the new online format. It's also useful for those with testing anxiety to take practice exams to reduce their fears. Doing some questions like the ones that will be on the real test can provide understanding and preparation for what's coming.