Michigan students improved test scores in spring 2022

LANSING, Mich. (MDE) – A majority of Michigan school districts showed improvement in their spring 2022 statewide test results over the previous year’s results, but continued improvement with the support of the fiscal year 2023 budget is required to address unfinished learning in the pandemic, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) reported today.

In the third year affected by the pandemic and an exacerbated teacher shortage, Michigan’s students began to rebound and strengthen learning, but there remains a continued need to provide additional supports and learning time for children and educators.

On average, from third to seventh grade, 54.5% of school districts increased their achievement scores in English language arts (ELA) and 4.0% of districts maintained their achievement levels compared to last year. For mathematics, on average from third to seventh grades, 55.9% of school districts increased their achievement scores and 7.4% of districts maintained their levels.

“Last year was a stronger year for our children, given the courageous work of our students and staff, but we continue to have a lot of room for improvement,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “Supported by an extraordinary fiscal year 2023 budget recently negotiated by Governor Whitmer and the state legislature, this school year will be critical to the growth and achievement of our students.”

The statewide participation rate of students taking the M-STEP in 2022 exceeded 95% while only around 70% of students took the M-STEP in 2021—a year with high health risks for students and staff due to the pandemic, and variations in teaching and learning across the state.**

The 2021 M-STEP was required to be administered by local school districts but was optional for students to take depending on parents’ beliefs about how safe it was to come into school to take the assessment.

As reported last year, students who took the 2021 state assessments were more likely to be from districts that offered in-person or hybrid learning and less likely to be from districts that were primarily remote, or who were students of color, economically disadvantaged students, or English learners.

With many more students taking this year’s M-STEP, around 60% of school districts increased or maintained their achievement score levels.

Relative to statewide student-level data, overall results from the spring 2022 Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) assessments showed that scores increased in three of seven grades in mathematics, declined slightly in elementary ELA, and dropped more in middle and high school ELA. For the most part, the results showed a leveling-off after the declines in spring 2021 scores relative to pre-pandemic levels.

What Michigan is experiencing at this point in the pandemic is similar to what is transpiring in many other states that have published assessment results.

Educators, parents, students, and other family members have worked together to reduce the effects on students of the COVID pandemic this past school year, Dr. Rice said.

“In spite of the great efforts of students, educators, and community members, our schools have not yet returned to pre-pandemic achievement levels, in Michigan or in states across the country. We are still wrestling with profound staffing shortages that existed prior to, and were exacerbated by, the pandemic–shortages that were largely borne of inadequate pre-pandemic funding,” Dr. Rice said. “The extraordinary fiscal year 2023 school aid budget negotiated by Governor Whitmer and the state legislature will help Michigan students and schools improve at this challenging time. This budget begins to help us substantially address the academic, safety, and mental health challenges of our students.”

Those critical investments in this year’s budget include:

  • A per pupil foundation allowance increase of $450 per student (5.2% increase)
  • An increase of $246 million for students with disabilities (15.6% increase)
  • An increase of $223 million for economically disadvantaged students (42.5% increase)
  • An increase of $10 million for career and technical education programming (26.6% increase)
  • An increase of $1.3 million for English language learners (5.2% increase)
  • An additional $38,000 for students in rural and isolated districts (5.2% increase)
  • An increase of $245 million for children’s mental health in schools
  • An increase of $210 million for school safety
  • Additional funding to continue the expansion of the Great Start Readiness Program for four-year-old children
  • A first-time investment of $575 million for teacher recruitment efforts


Among the many initiatives included in the fiscal year 2022 and 2023 budgets, Dr. Rice is especially optimistic about the work being done to expand by 23,000 children annually the state’s Great Start Readiness Program for four-year-old children and to provide quality teaching by strengthening the teacher workforce through greater compensation and supports to retain educators and support staff in Michigan classrooms.

“The generous funding for teacher recruitment will help us rebuild the teaching profession by supporting aspiring teachers and “grow your own efforts” in local schools and districts,” Dr. Rice said. “We look forward to greater futures for our children and stronger schools.” 

School-level Assessment Data 
For a complete look at this year’s assessment results, please go to www.mischooldata.org.

**No students took the assessments in 2020 when the United States Department of Education approved MDE’s request that statewide assessments be waived due to the pandemic.