Michigan is reporting slight improvement by third- and fourth-graders on the state's standardized reading test.
The gains are among only a few highlights in what otherwise are disappointing results released Wednesday.
M-STEP scores from this past spring rose in six of the 18 subject areas tested in grades 3-8 and 11, yet dropped in 11 subject areas.
Fewer than half of all students tested were proficient in English language arts.
The portion of third-graders deemed proficient increased to 44.4 percent from 44.1 percent.
Interim State Superintendent Sheila Alles says third- and fourth-graders are benefiting from increased spending on early childhood programs in recent years.
She says "more works needs to be done" on English language arts in upper grades and in math and social studies overall.