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    It was an active week for the Michigan State Board of Education. In addition to its policy recommendations for Governor Rick Snyder and the Michigan Legislature, it voted to increase the passing scores, popularly known as "cut scores," for both the MEAP and Michigan Merit Exam. The Board approved the increases in a 7-1 vote. State board member Marianne Yared McGuire, a Detroit Democrat, was the lone dissenting vote. .

    Preceding the increases Michigan had been criticized for its relatively low testing standards. For example, The Education Trust-Midwest, an education policy and advocacy organization, noted severe disparities between Michigan's and national education standards. They discovered that "the state tells 84 percent of parents of Michigan fourth-graders that their kids are proficient in reading according to the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP), what state leaders have not said is that on the more rigorous national reading exam, only 30 percent of Michigan's students rank as proficient." According to the Board, the increase in the passing scores will render the standards congruous with college readiness metrics.

    U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan applauded the increases. "I applaud Michigan for being honest with students on where they stand," Duncan said in a statement this afternoon. "Michigan's education leaders are putting kids first by taking critical steps to help them compete in a global economy." Duncan has long been a critic of Michigan and other states that have lax testing standards.

    Sources:

    Michigan Board of Education Press Release

    The Education Trust-Midwest: "Cut Scores"-Just the Beginning of Being More Honest with Michiganders

    http://www.freep.com/article/20110209/NEWS06/110209108/Education-Secretary-Arne-Duncan-supports-raising-standards-passing-state-exams

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    The Michigan Policy Network is a student-led public education and research program to report and organize news and information about the political process surrounding Michigan state policy issues. It is run out of the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, with participation by students from the College of Social Science, the College of Communication, and James Madison College. 

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    Andy Chou and Andrew Revard are Education Policy Correspondents for the Michigan Policy Network. Andy is a first-year student in Economics at Michigan State University. Andrew is a senior in Political Science at MSU.