FILE - Students in class, classroom, teacher

Statewide educational assessment tests conducted in 2019 reveal a slight uptick in results over previous years.

Testing results from the 2019 Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP), PSAT 8 and PSAT/SAT also indicate the Detroit Public Schools Community District is making greater strides in some areas than the remainder of the state.

Every school in the Detroit Public School Community District measured gains over 2018 scores in mathematics and English/Language Arts.

“These results reflect the meaningful changes happening in our schools through the implementation of our Strategy Plan,” Board President Iris Taylor said in a statement. “I hear from teachers, families, and students that they can feel the difference in our classrooms.”

“We knew we were improving but the data now confirms it. We still have work to do, but are moving in the right direction and we must stay focused to create accelerated improvement that is long-term and sustainable,” Taylor concluded. 

Nicolai Vitti, DPSCD superintendent, said in a statement that the year-over-year improvements are just the beginning.

“There was nothing random about this improvement," Vitti said. "Instead, this is what occurs with strategic and deliberate reform based on best practice."

Despite the improvements, the scores overall remain low.

For example, 11.9 percent of DPSCD third graders are considered proficient in ELA in 2019, up only slight from 11.3 percent in 2018. Of students grades 3-7 tested throughout Michigan, less than 47 percent are considered ELA proficient or above.

Social Studies scores for grades 5, 8 and 11 were less encouraging. Grade 5 scores concluded only 17.4 percent of students were proficient or above, compared to 18.3 percent the previous year. Grades 8 and 11 also trended downward: from 29.3 percent proficient or above in 2018 to 28 percent in 2019 in Grade 8; and from 48.5 percent in 2018 to 46.6 percent in 2019 in Grade 11.

Less than 40 percent of Michigan students in grades 3-7 passed the math portion of M-STEP. In Detroit, 10.1 percent passed in 2019 whereas 6.7 percent passed in 2018.

Detroit third-graders marked a 5.3 percent improvement in math proficiency in 2019 (16 percent proficient) compared to 2018 (10.7 percent). Of the Detroit Public School Community District schools marking improvements, the Charles Wright Academy of Arts and Science recognized a 19.6 percent jump in math proficiency from 29.9 percent in 2018 to 48.6 percent in 2019.

According to M-STEP analysis provided by the DPSCD, “[T]he percentage of grade 11 students meeting SAT college readiness performance benchmarks decreased slightly in Evidence-Based Reading & Writing (28.3 percent, down 2.3 percentage points from 2018) and remained largely flat in Mathematics (11.3 percent, down 0.2 percentage points from 2018) at the District level.  Across all grades assessed on the PSAT/SAT, the statewide declines were greater on both assessments, as was the decline in college readiness overall.”

Regional Editor

Bruce Walker is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as editor at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s MichiganScience magazine and The Heartland Institute’s InfoTech & Telecom News.