- Associated Press - Sunday, April 10, 2016

DETROIT (AP) - Students will be spending less time taking the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress, or M-STEP, this spring after complaints last year that the new exam took too long to complete, education officials say.

Students will spend no more than four to eight hours on the test this year, instead of the seven to 16 hours it took to complete last year, Jan Ellis, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Education, told the Detroit Free Press (https://on.freep.com/1SpTPwQ ).

The Education Department reduced the number of tests high school students are required to take in addition to the college entrance exam from four to two. In grades three to eight, the state will include a performance task for English language arts only in grades five and eight, instead of each grade. The performance task requires students to complete an in-depth project during the course of the exam that demonstrates their analytical and problem-solving skills. The state also eliminated a classroom activity that helped set up the performance tasks.

The M-STEP last year replaced the 44-year-old paper Michigan Education Assessment Program.

Ellis said 95 percent of the schools in the state will give the M-STEP online. That’s up from 80 percent last year.



The math and English language arts exams for grades three through eight will be computer adaptive, meaning the tests will be customized for each student. With a computer adaptive test, the difficulty of the questions a student gets changes based on how a student is doing. Ellis said the state determines proficiency based not just on the number of questions answered correctly but also the difficulty of the questions.

Another change is high school juniors will take the SAT college entrance test instead of the ACT. Ninth- and 10th-graders will take the PSAT, the practice exam for the SAT.

Students in grades five and eight can be tested any time between Monday and April 29. Grades three and six can be tested between April 25 and May 13. Grades four and seven can be tested between May 9 and May 27.

High school juniors will take the SAT on Tuesday and a workplace skills exam on Wednesday. Meanwhile, freshmen and sophomores will take the PSAT on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Information from: Detroit Free Press, https://www.freep.com

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