Michigan third-graders flagged for low reading scores | MSUToday

According to a new report from Michigan State University Collaboration for Education Policy Innovationor EPIC, the strategic research partner of the Michigan Department of Education and local school districts.

In the spring of 2022, nearly all students in grades three through eight (M-STEP in grades three through seven, PSAT in eighth grade) took the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress, or M-STEP, after two years of disruptions by the covid19 pandemic. With 95% of students taking the test in 2022, up from just 71% last year, more students scored below 1252, the state-determined benchmark for falling behind in grades in reading, and could be withheld under Michigan’s Read by Grade Three law. .

A higher proportion of students who took the test in 2022 scored 1252 or lower than in 2021. This is one percentage point higher than the percentage of third graders tested who were behind in reading in 2021 (4.8%).

According catherine strunkDirector of EPIC, and Clifford Erickson Professor Emeritus of Educational Policy at MSU’s College of Education, this provides more evidence that students will need extra support to recover from missed learning opportunities caused by the pandemic.

“More than anything, it shows us that the pandemic has wreaked havoc on many from michigan students, and more are struggling to read in third grade than before the pandemic,” Strunk said. “Michigan schools and students will need increased investment and support to recover academically.”

Nearly 15% of black third-graders tested in Michigan are eligible for retention, as are 7% of Latino students, 9% of economically disadvantaged students, and 11% of students with disabilities. These groups of students have significantly higher retention and eligibility rates than their peers. For example, black students are 4.5 times more likely to be eligible for retention than their white peers, and economically disadvantaged students are 4.5 times more likely to be eligible for retention than their more advantaged peers.

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Retention Eligibility” measures the percentage of students tested who scored 1252 or less on the third-grade ELA M-STEP (one level behind). “Estimated retention” measures the percentage of students tested who were eligible for retention but are granted a just cause exemption and therefore should not be retained under the law.

There are also significant disparities between school types and districts: one in four students in partnership schools—the lowest-performing schools in the state—are eligible for retention, compared to one in 20 students in not partners. Nearly 18% of students in districts who have previously performed in the bottom quartile of ELA achievement are eligible for retention, compared to 2% of students in the highest-scoring districts. These gaps have increased slightly since the 2020-21 school year.

“These data are very concerning and underscore the fact that, while many are recovering from the negative impact of the pandemic, others who were among those most in need before the pandemic appear to be among the most affected by the pandemic. .” said State Superintendent Michael Rice. “The combined effects of the historic underfunding of schools for many years in the state, an associated teacher shortage, and a pandemic have taken their toll. .

“That said, the budget recently negotiated between the governor and the state legislature is extraordinary. The budget adds $450 per student in base funding, $246 million for students with disabilities, $232 million for economically disadvantaged students, $575 million to begin addressing teacher shortages, and $245 million to help address children’s mental health issues. Over time, these new funds will help us fill more classrooms with certified teachers and support staff, provide professional development for more early elementary teachers in literacy education based on research, to reduce class sizes at the beginning of primary in certain districts whose class sizes are too large, to reduce and ultimately eliminate the shortage of teachers and to provide the necessary tutoring and mentoring supports for those who need.

“Coupled with the current fiscal year 2022 budget, the fiscal year 2023 budget enables the expansion of early childhood education by an additional 23,000 students per year over the next few years, another effort that will help improve literacy and other outcomes for Michigan children in the future.

In May and June, the state sent letters to the residences of all students eligible for retention under the law. However, it is unlikely that all of these students will be retained as the law allows “just cause exemptions” for certain students, including English learners with less than three years of English education; students with an Individual Education Program or Section 504 plan; students who were previously retained and received intensive reading interventions for two or more years; and students who have been enrolled in their current district for less than two years and who have not received an appropriate individual reading improvement plan.

Once the analysis takes into account factors that may qualify students for just cause exemptions, approximately 2.4% of third graders tested could be withheld under the Read by Grade Three Act. This figure is slightly higher than the estimated retention rate of 2.2% for the 2020-21 school year.

Note: “Retention Eligibility” measures the percentage of students tested who scored 1,252 or less on the third-year ELA M-STEP (one level behind). “Estimated retention” measures the percentage of students tested who were eligible for retention but are granted a just cause exemption and therefore should not be retained under the law.

Districts that primarily provided distance education in 2020-21 had the largest share of students flagged for retention, based on their Spring 2022 ELA M-STEP scores, with more than double the eligibility rates for retention than districts providing in-person or hybrid instruction. However, these districts would also have had higher retention eligibility rates than in-person and hybrid districts in 2018-19 if the retention policy had been in effect at the time, suggesting that these discrepancies are partly due to differences in the district average. pre-pandemic achievement. Yet, although retention eligibility rates increased from 2018-19 to 2021-22 in districts across all three modality categories, districts that were predominantly remote in 2020-21 saw the largest increase in retention. share of students flagged for retention.

Strunk noted, “It is of particular concern that retention eligibility rates are higher for historically marginalized students and for those who learned remotely in the 2020-21 school year. The road to recovery will be longer and steeper for some students than for others, and the long-term implications of these disparities will be disastrous for individual students and the state if we don’t work quickly to address them.

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