LANSING, Mich. — Students will have to answer far more questions correctly in order to pass the next round of standardized tests in Michigan, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Admitting that formerly the bar was set far too low, the Michigan State Board of Education voted 6-1 to raise the scores a student must achieve in order to be considered “proficient” in math, reading or other subjects on Michigan Education Assessment Program tests and the Michigan Merit Exam, the Free Press reported. It’s likely that more students now will fail the exam and more schools will be identified as needing improvement, according to the Free Press.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan called the former standards “outrageous,” the Free Press reported.

“To pretend that 90 percent of our (third-graders) are reading at grade level is a travesty. It's not true,” Flanagan said, according to the Free Press.

There was some dissension among the board, according to the Free Press, as some members questioned how high the new bar was being set and whether some students would be discouraged from enrolling in college. Board member Marianne McGuire was the lone “no” vote.

Board member Kathleen Straus abstained from the vote, alleging that the board was breaking policy by voting on a topic on the same day on which it was discussed, according to the Free Press.

SOURCE:

Detroit Free Press, “Michigan makes it tougher for kids to pass state exams,” Sept. 14, 2011

FURTHER READING:

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “What MEAP Scores Mean,” March 22, 2010

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