Detroit Today

MEAP Is Back, But What Is The Future of Michigan's Standardized Testing?

Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014

The 40-year-old MEAP test was supposed to be replaced this year, but that didn't happen. So what is the future of standardized testing in Michigan? Laura and Christy are joined by Michigan Public Radio Network's Capitol Reporter Jake Neher and Executive Director of The Education Trust- Midwest Amber Arellano to discuss the latest in the evolving conversation about testing in Michigan schools.

There was a huge discussion before the Michigan Legislature about the Common Core state standards that plays directly into this,” says Neher. We’ve seen lawmakers across party lines, along with some Michigan residents, ready to move toward a smarter balance and testing method that is more closely aligned to the Common Core.

However, creating a new test is where lawmakers got stuck, according to Neher, which is why it was ultimately determined the state shouldn’t begin testing based on the Common Core until a proper MEAP replacement is ironed out and can be effectively implemented.

“Great schools and great teachers don’t teach to test,” explains Arellano of the state of education standards in Michigan. “When you look at how the leading education states have gotten where they have without raising their standards,” Arellano points to a shift in the content and focus of material.

For example, Massachusetts schools have aligned their curriculums with college and career standards, and students’ performance in that state is nearly unparalleled. “We are in the process of doing that this year,” says Arellano.

Schools will be “shifting from a shallow broad base of knowledge to more of a focus on critical thinking,” explains Arellano. However, the support received by teachers will be crucial during the transition –especially in districts with a tight budget.