MCL: 380.1280f Assessments

Early Literacy Assessments Resources

Early Literacy Assessment Systems

District staff and stakeholders should be aware that the default determinant of retention, as outlined in legislation (MCL:  380.1280f), is the third-grade state level English Language Arts assessment.  This assessment measures the entire range of English Language Arts academic standards - reading, writing, listening, and language. Thus, districts are strongly advised to engage in a careful review of the demands of the state assessment, and to bear these demands in mind when selecting and designing local assessment systems. 

Districts should keep in mind that if the Extensive Assessment that they have selected for this legislation does not assess a specific skill, an additional assessment may be necessary for some students. It is difficult to provide one extensive assessment that will meet all of the needs of all students.  Therefore, a district should ensure that local assessment systems used for this legislation align with the full spectrum of English Language Arts academic standards and meet the needs of all the learners as identified through instruction, observation and initial assessment screening. 

Districts should also consider the Cognitive Model of Reading (McKenna & Stahl, 2015) below. The factors indicated in the model, along with motivation and engagement, support reading comprehension. This model demonstrates the need for districts to utilize a balanced assessment system that integrates multiple data sources that include initial, extensive, and formative assessment to fully address all components of literacy.

Districts should remember the following when selecting and using assessments for Early Literacy Initiatives:

  • Use Current Versions: When purchasing assessments, districts are reminded that assessment authors regularly make improvements to assessments and update based on research. Districts are strongly advised to use the most up to date versions of an assessment.

  • Provide Appropriate Training: Any staff who are expected to collect and use assessment data must be trained, observed, and provided with feedback to ensure the accurate collection and use of data.

  • Use and Collect Assessment Data: Assessment data provide a powerful tool for educators as they make decisions about instruction. Data from assessments should be combined with Formative data including observation, peer- and self-reflection, and instructional evaluation of student performance. 

  • Align Assessments and Tasks to the Rigor of the State Assessment: The state assessment sets a high standard for rigor and assesses in formats that may be new to some educators. All Michigan educators are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the state assessment to understand what students will be expected to know and do. M-STEP Resource Page

  • Create an Appropriate Local System of Assessments: Districts may not need to cease using assessments not on the approved list.  If other assessments are being used effectively and resulting in enhanced decision making that improves students’ performance, districts may continue use of those assessments in addition to the approved initial and extensive Assessment systems that they have selected.  Additional support for creating a local system can be found on the District Assessment Inventory website

  • Use Multiple Data Sources: Inherent in any assessment will be some measurement error. Therefore, any single assessment is unlikely to perfectly predict which students will perform well on a given outcome assessment (e.g., M-STEP). Selecting assessments that have strong technical adequacy and ensuring appropriate in-district use will help to ensure the resulting data can lead to decisions that will support all students.  It is also appropriate that districts use all assessments and Formative Practices to identify/predict student achievement.