LANSING, Mich., Feb. 11, 2021 — Rep. Lori Stone (D-Warren) and Sen. Danya Polehanki (D-Livonia) introduced House Concurrent Resolution 3 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 5 ask the U.S. Department of Education to issue waivers for the  Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) requirement for the 2021-2022 school year. The Department issued similar waivers last year, in deference to the challenges schools faced while dealing with the pandemic.

“We don’t need standardized testing to demonstrate that learning loss has occurred as a result of adapting instruction in response to the changing Covid-19 conditions,” said Stone. “Teachers have utilized benchmark assessments required by Michigan’s Return to Learn plans as well as a variety of formative assessment methods to meet students’ instructional needs.  Restricting school aid funding as schools scramble to figure out the logistics of administering standardized tests in this unprecedented learning environment is one of the worst things we could do. Let’s not take any more learning time or resources away from students and follow the recommendations of education professionals.”

The COVID-19 pandemic forced students, parents and teachers to face new challenges while finding creative ways to continue learning outside of the classroom. M-STEP and other standardized tests are typically administered in environments that control as many variables as possible to accurately represent each student’s knowledge. The wide range in which Michigan students currently receive an education makes that impossible.

“I support Dr. Rice’s decision to request a waiver from spring M-STEP testing from the Federal Department of Education,” said Polehanki. “As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, it is clear that students need as much instruction as they can get. That instructional time is more valuable than time spent in front of a computer doing high-stakes standardized testing.”

Rep Stone also introduced House Bill 4042 to address waving the state level requirement for M-STEP for the 2020-2021 school year. Schools must typically administer standardized tests like M-STEP to receive state funding.