Technology 2016_03This April students across Michigan will begin the second year of the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP). It is meant to be an online assessment measuring how much students know and can do. New learning standards require new ways to measure the students’ knowledge. That’s why in 2014-15, Michigan replaced the 44-year-old MEAP test with the MEAP. The most significant change from the MEAP is that MSTEP has far fewer multiple-choice, and has questions that are focused more on using critical thinking skills. And of particular note, it is meant to be an adaptive online assessment. It can make a follow-up question be a different difficulty based on the response provided on the prior question. This of course requires technology!

The M-STEP includes summative assessments designed to measure student growth properly for the students in the State of Michigan. English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics will be assessed in grades 3-8, Science in grades 4 and 7, and Social Studies in grades 5 and 8. It also includes the Michigan Merit Examination (MME) for students in 11th grade. MME consists of a college entrance exam (the SAT), work skills assessment, and M-STEP summative assessments in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies.If a district has determined it has a school that is not yet “technology-ready”, it may request a waiver from administering the M-STEP online. Otherwise, a district is expected to utilize its technology resources to successfully provide the test to all applicable student populations. Districts have had the opportunity to increase their technology resources (devices, wireless connectivity and internet speeds) through participation in the Technology Readiness Infrastructure Grant. There is significant work in preparing district devices to use the portal to the test. The preparation is specific to the district, and district devices so that no user outside of the district may attempt to take the assessments from an off-site location, potentially undermining the quality of the results.

The testing window is from Monday April 11, 2016 to Friday May 27, 2016. The seven weeks allotted is a shorter testing window that in 2015. Each grade level tested has a 3-week testing window, so there will be overlapping weeks of testing for the grade levels. The scheduling of the testing sessions within that grade-level window is determined locally by the district administration. There are options for the use of translators and language interpreters when taking the MSTEP too. No child should unnecessarily struggle with having access to the test.

For a family that wants to prepare their child(ren) for the MSTEP, there are online simulators of the test. Those sample item sets may be accessed at the following URL: Click Here

State Schedule document: Click Here

Additional online resources for MSTEP: Click Here

In an example of the seriousness of planning for the MSTEP, the Michigan Departement of Education has recently released the testing schedule for the 2017, 2018 & 2019 years. That information is available at this URL: Click Here