Educators push for M-STEP to be canceled again this year

Michigan

MIDDLEVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Educators in Michigan say the state’s standardized test, the M-STEP, should not be held this year because of the pandemic and the difficulties in teaching it has caused.

Many school officials say even if the M-STEP goes forward, it is not their main priority.

“When (students) walk through my doors, I want them to just have that comfort and that feeling of connection with me and not worry about everything else the rest of the time,” Sarah Keizer, a fourth grade teacher for Thornapple Kellogg Schools in Middleville, said. “They want to see their friends; they want to have that network.”

She wants to keep her lessons as consistent as possible and focus on the basics as her students navigate the new rules of life during a pandemic.

“It’s the one routine they might have,” Keizer said.

Thornapple Kellogg Superintendent Dan Remenap says preparing for the M-STEP is not top of mind for any of his teachers.

“If scores dip a little bit, with everything else going on right now, it’s not the end of the world,” he said.

“We don’t believe that it’s an appropriate time for there to be statewide summative assessments,” Kevin Polston, the superintendent for Godfrey-Lee Public Schools in Wyoming, said.

The M-STEP was canceled last year because of the pandemic. Educators who want the same this year say their students deserve the benefit of the doubt as they continue to navigate a different environment.

“I’ve heard it said many times that this is a year of learning loss and I just completely disagree with that. Our kids are learning how to adapt, how to be flexible, they’re learning technology skills that they didn’t have,” Godfrey-Lee fourth and fifth grade virtual teacher Alex Kuiper said. “Our students, our kids deserve so much credit for how they have handled it and those are things that a standardized test aren’t going to show.”

Officials at the Michigan Department of Education say they plan to resubmit their assessment waiver request later this month to the U.S. Department of Education. If approved, no students will have to take the M-STEP this school year.

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