LANSING — Nearly half of the third-grade students in Ingham and Eaton County failed to reach proficient reading standards in last year’s state academic assessment, but they did see improvement.
Scores on the English and language arts section of last year’s M-STEP, released Thursday, hovered at about 50% proficiency for mid-Michigan third graders. That included about 61.9% of Clinton County students scoring proficient on the reading section, while 49.5% of Ingham County students and 48.2% of Eaton County test takers did the same.
Lansing area schools gave students extra reading resources in hopes of increasing reading scores ahead of the 2019-20 test. The state’s Read by Grade Three law goes into effect this year and calls for school administrators to hold back third graders whose reading performance is too low.
Waverly Community Schools administrators give students extra reading instruction and provided additional reading intervention support, said Superintendent Kelly Blake. It made a difference as the school district saw third grade M-STEP reading scores rise from about 37.7% proficiency to 45%.
“We can always improve, but we do see some spots where we made some improvements,” she said. “We consider that a win.”
Lansing School District administrators rely on literacy specialists in district schools to provide additional help for struggling readers. Students also take separate reading proficiency tests and teachers monitor struggling students, but the added help didn’t produce improvement last year.
Reading proficiency scores on the M-STEP fell from 29.6% on the 2017-18 test to 23.8% on last year’s assessment for Lansing School District third graders.
A Lansing School District administrator could not be reached for comment.
Other districts, like Okemos Public Schools and East Lansing Public Schools both saw increases, with Okemos readers rising from 70.4% to 77.3% reading proficiency and East Lansing third graders jumping their scores from 61.4% to 68.6% last year.
Administrators from both school systems could not be reached.
Statewide third-grade reading proficiency rose slightly, inching up from 44.4% from the 2017-18 test to 45.1% in last year’s assessment. The same trend can be seen for fourth and sixth grade readers, rising from 45% to 45.8%, and 41.4% to 41.7%, respectively.
“We appreciate the gains made this year in our early grades,” said state Superintendent Michael Rice, in a press release. “Focus and attention on early childhood education and early literacy are beginning to bear fruit, and continued efforts in these areas will keep Michigan moving forward.”
Michigan Department of Education officials warned not to use the M-STEP scores to predict the number of third graders who will be held back under the new law. Retention instead is based on a on a unique and separate cut score Michigan Department of Education officials developed by working with educators and technical experts.
Less than half of the fourth- through seventh-grade students who took the mathematics portion of the M-STEP in Ingham County last year scored proficient. About 51.6% of third graders hit that mark.
Third- and fourth-grade students in Clinton and Eaton Counties were the only test takers in their respective counties to score above 50% proficiency on the mathematics section.
Look up M-STEP scores for your school here.
Stay informed on the latest education news. Subscribe to the Lansing State Journal. See current offers at LSJ.com/subscribe.
Read or Share this story: https://www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/news/2019/08/29/ingham-eaton-reading-struggle-m-step/2152989001/