The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Ironwood looks to M-STEP results for baseline

 


IRONWOOD — With the state of Michigan recently releasing results of the first year of the M-STEP testing taken in the spring of 2015, Ironwood K-12 Principal Denise Woodward cautions against judging the data against previous years, when a different test was used.

“The state did warn us that this was going to be a more rigorous year ... they were lowering the amount of multiple choice questions and they were (increasing) the amount of critical thinking questions,” Woodward said. She called comparisons between the M-STEP test and previous standardized tests as “comparing apples to oranges.”

The Michigan Department of Education echoed Woodward’s caution on its website.

“The M-STEP is a very different test than tests administered in past years, therefore results should not be compared to those from prior years. Because this is a different test measuring different standards, scores should not be compared to scores on the MEAP test. This year’s M-STEP data will provide a baseline to which future years’ data can be compared,” the website reads.

Further complicating the analysis of results are preliminary discussions to replace the M-STEP test after the spring 2016 test with yet a different standardized system, according to Woodward.

According to information provided by the district, the percentages of Ironwood students graded as advanced or proficient based on the spring 2015 test were as follows:

Math

—55 percent of Ironwood third graders, compared to 54 percent of Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermdiate School District students and 49 percent of students statewide.

—40 percent of the district’s fourth graders, compared to the GOISD’s 36 percent and 41 percent of the state.

—26 percent of fifth graders, compared to the GOISD’s 22 percent and 33 percent at the state level.

—18 percent of sixth graders, compared to the GOISD’s 26 percent and 33 percent at the state level.

—21 percent of seventh graders, compared to the GOISD’s 19 percent and 33 percent at the state level.

—30 percent of eighth graders, compared to the GOISD’s 23 percent and 32 percent at the state level.

—17 percent of 11th graders, compared to the GOISD’s 18 percent and 29 percent at the state level.

Social Studies

—Less than 10 percent of fifth graders, compared to the GOISD’s 11 percent and 22 percent at the state level.

—45 percent of eighth graders, compared to the GOISD’s 34 percent and 30 percent at the state level.

—41 percent of 11th graders, compared to the GOISD’s 35 percent and 44 percent at the state level.

Science

—Less than 10 percent of fourth graders, compared to the GOISD’s less than 10 percent and 12 percent at the state level.

—19 percent of seventh graders, compared to the GOISD’s 21 percent and 23 percent at the state level.

—22 percent of 11th graders, compared to the GOISD’s 19 percent and 29 percent at the state level.

English

—53 percent of third graders, compared to the GOISD’s 53 percent and 50 percent at the state level.

—47 percent of fourth graders, compared to the GOISD’s 43 percent and 47 percent at the state level.

—32 percent of fifth graders, compared to the GOISD’s 38 percent and 49 percent at the state level.

—35 percent of sixth graders, compared to the GOISD’s 43 percent and 45 percent at the state level.

—38 percent of seventh graders, compared to the GOISD’s 35 percent and 49 percent at the state level.

—44 percent of eighth graders, compared to the GOISD’s 36 percent and 48 percent at the state level.

Regardless of the testing format, Woodward said Ironwood will continue with a number of improvements to provide a better education for its students.

“Regardless of tests, or no tests, we’re always striving for additional improvement,” Woodward said. “That would happen whether we had test data or not.”

Among the initiatives is a vertical alignment of the entire K-12 system, which ensures the students receive the necessary foundations in each grade to be prepared for future material.

The district is also developing “pacing guides,” which ensure the teachers are teaching the same material across each grade level so all the students are equally prepared.

“What (a pacing guide) does is it holds us all accountable as a team to be giving every student at that grade level (a level playing field),” Woodward said.

Woodward said she is also working on developing a new system of teacher evaluations, based on the Marzano Method, which calls for more collaboration and peer-to-peer coaching to create more effective teaching strategies.

“I think that process, too, is really going to help,” she said.

The evaluations will be implemented beginning in the fall of 2016, Woodward said, with the other efforts being developed over the next several years.

 
 

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