Michigan students better at math, worse in reading

Michigan students are more proficient in math and social studies and less proficient in reading, according to the latest test results released.

Released Tuesday, M-STEP results show math scores improved in four of the five grades from the year before. However, English Language Arts scores worsened in four of the five grades.

Like the old MEAP test, the M-STEP, or the Michigan student Test of Educational Progress, is a state-standardized test that tracks students' proficiencies in math, English, science and social studies. This year, only 44 percent of all third graders were proficient in English. It's even worse for low-income students, who tested 29 percent proficient and black students only 20 percent proficient.

"We really need to focus on making sure that kids are ready to read by the end of third grade because it's such a strong predictor of student success," said Brian Gutman, director of public engagement for The Education Trust.

State Superintendent Brian Whiston calls the reading scores "disappointing," but the math and science results are "exciting."

He says Michigan's initiative to target early literacy should lead to better reading results as it is fully implemented.

Science scores ranged from 15 percent to 34 percent proficiency, social studies from 22 percent to 46 percent.

Schools with extremely low M-STEP results could ultimately face intervention from Michigan's turnaround office. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.