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Listen Tuesdays at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. on 90.5 WKAR-FMAccording to the Kids Count report of April 2018, 56% of third graders in Michigan are not proficient in English Language Arts. At the same time, some new public school teachers in Michigan are leaving the classroom because they do not earn enough money for a decent living. Virtual and charter schools are on the rise in Michigan. And in some communities there are breakthroughs in raising better readers.Covering education in Michigan is complex, but WKAR is committed to reporting on the problems, searching for solutions, and holding leaders accountable.Listen for Making The Grade in Michigan with WKAR education reporter Kevin Lavery every Tuesday at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. on 90.5 WKAR-FM's Morning Edition.

MI 3rd Graders Make Slight Gains In M-STEP Reading Scores

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WKAR File Photo
Michigan third-graders made slight gains in English language arts proficiency on the 2019 M-STEP (Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress)

Michigan’s third graders showed slight improvement in their reading scores in the 2018 school year.  However, the gains are not enough to stave off criticism of the state’s early literacy efforts.


The 2019 M-STEP assessment finds just over 45 percent of third graders are proficient in English language arts.  That figure is a mere seven-tenths of one percent higher than 2018. 

Next year, the stakes will be much higher.  Students who score below proficiency in English language arts will repeat third grade.

Brian Gutman is with the nonpartisan research group Education Trust Michigan says the fact that 55 percent of third graders can’t read at grade level should be a wake-up call.

“That’s really concerning,” says Gutman.  “This comes four years after enacting a policy to identify students who are struggling early, to provide them with supports…and spending about $120 million on literacy efforts in the state.”

Overall, elementary math scores improved in 2019 while the state reported drops in social studies proficiency in grades five, eight and 11.



Kevin Lavery is a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things considered.
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