Superintendent discusses state testing request

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — State leaders are asking the U.S. Department of Education to allow Michigan schools to use different tests in lieu of the state assessments.

The Michigan Department of Education wants to use benchmark assessments. The department already requires students to take them twice a year.

Godfrey-Lee Public Schools Superintendent Kevin Polston says benchmark assessments give schools a better idea of how a student is progressing in real-time. Educators also get the results back quicker than state assessments.

He says allowing schools to report these results gives them more time to work on a targeted approach.

“We have seen in looking at national data from one of the benchmark providers is literacy scores have been about on par, we haven’t seen growth. More so in math, we have seen a slight decline in comparison to cohorts of students from last year to this year,” said Polston. “What that information does is allows us to target resources where they are needed versus a blanket statement of deficit thinking such as learning loss. We don’t just want to throw a blanket approach at a problem that really needs to have a scalpel instead of a sledgehammer.”

Polston says educators expect to see a big disparity in testing results because of the different learning styles.