In MDE’s August 29 Spotlight on Assessment publication, positive results were cited in Michigan’s first year of using the PSAT 8/9 in 8th grade. According to MDE, nearly 62 percent of students reached proficiency in ELA and 41 percent hit the proficiency target for Math. This is encouraging news and sets the baseline for this cohort of students as they progress and take PSAT 8/9 again as freshmen, PSAT 10 as sophomores, and the SAT as juniors. 

The change from MSTEP to PSAT 8/9 had some educators concerned that 8th graders would not perform well on a rigorous assessment that included ELA and Math benchmarks that spanned below and above grade level, yet Michigan students were able to rise to the challenge. This being said, we know there is much more intentional work needed to increase the percentage of students on track for college readiness. 

According to the College Board a high percentage of schools who administered PSAT 8/9 have yet to open the reporting portal to view their scores. We simply can’t expect to get better if we fail to access, analyze and use the rich data available in the College Board Report Portal to chart a course for improvement. In short, building leaders need to use the results to assess and refine curriculum, assessment and instructional practice, as well as target intervention to this cohort as they progress through high school. 

As middle school administrators are you aware…

  • The College Board reporting portal has a number of reports to help you dig into your data to inform curriculum and instruction? 

  • There is a Question Analysis report that allows staff and students to see the actual test item and how each individual student responded to shine a light on possible curricular and instructional strengths, gaps and student misconceptions? 

  • Each individual student and staff member can create a College Board account to view their results and interact with the data?

  • MASSP has created a toolkit that includes: A screencast to explain the score report for parents, a powerpoint with speaker notes if you want to have a parent night to review results, a screencast on how to link College Board and Khan Academy accounts along with other support pieces?

  • MASSP provides workshops for teachers, administrators and counselors specific to using The College Board Report Portal, powerful and practical data protocol activities to engage staff during staff meetings and PD to assist them with analyzing and using the information available, and provide you with numerous resources to support students and staff with improvement? Check out the “DP2” workshops on the MASSP website:

Spotlight on Assessment also included news about 11th grade student performance on the SAT- which was not as promising. In ELA, achievement dropped from 57.8 percent of students proficient in 2018 to 55.3 percent in 2019. Math SAT achievement dropped from 36.9 percent of students proficient in 2018 to 36.3 percent in 2019. It is important to note that this compares two different cohorts of students and districts. To assess the impact of curriculum, instruction and intervention on individual cohorts, buildings should track cohort progress starting with PSAT 8/9 in 8th grade and monitoring the trend data from one year to the next. 

Michigan continues to be a sleeping giant when it comes to helping students to become college ready, according to the College Board benchmarks. Very few schools are taking full advantage of the FREE resources available at their fingertips and even fewer schools have a systemic plan for sharing and examining results, and developing remediation plans in collaboration with students, staff and parents. 

As high school administrators are you…

  • Assisting every staff member and student with setting up, linking, accessing and using their College Board and Khan Academy accounts to:

    • Review the reports available and the results?

    • Engage with FREE customized Official SAT practice to assist in remediation before the next state assessment? Students also have the ability to take up to 8 additional practice tests which will be immediately scored free of charge?

    • Monitor student activity and progress on Official SAT practice with a Khan Academy “coach” account?

  • Dedicating time during staff meetings and professional development to look at the data, set goals for improvement and create action plans to make it happen?

  • Facilitating parent workshops to help parents understand the reports available and to make them aware of the FREE Official SAT practice available to every student via Khan Academy?

  • Providing ELA and Math staff with professional development on how to:

    • Audit alignment of their curriculum and academic skills assessed?

    • Integrate Official SAT practice into their lessons?

    • Utilize model lessons and other resources that are tailor made to target academic skills students are expected to know and apply?

  • Helping to provide the “why” for students when it comes to College Board testing by explaining that PSAT 8/9 and PSAT 10 are “pre-college entrance exams” that provide predictive SAT scores? 

  • Using RoadTrip Nation and the College Board’s Career Finder tool to help students see the connection between their high school courses, GPA and test scores to college admission and career options?

  • Utilizing the toolkits MASSP has created that includes: A screencast to explain the score report for parents, a powerpoint with speaker notes if you want to have a parent night to review results, a screencast on how to link College Board and Khan Academy accounts, along with other support pieces?

  • Planning to attend an MASSP Data Protocol workshop that will: Teach you about the score reports available in the College Board portal, provide you with a number of data protocol activities to do with staff during staff meeting and PD time to assist them with looking at and using the information available, and provide you with numerous resources to support students and staff with improvement?

MASSP is a leader nationwide in supporting principals and schools with accessing, analyzing, and utilizing College Board data to support teaching and learning. We are not an association that promotes a “two points more” approach or gaming the system. We acknowledge what ultimately improves student results are a guaranteed and viable curriculum delivered by high quality teachers. This being said, we also recognize that schools need to use the data available to make improvements in both instructional practice and curriculum. Schools also have a responsibility to prepare students appropriately for what is still a required assessment for entrance into the majority of post-secondary institutions. As an Association, we are here to support your efforts to improve. We provide many resources and professional development opportunities - we are throwing you the rope, but you’ve got to grab a hold! We hope to see you at future workshops and we are also available to work directly with your staff during district professional development time. If you have never attended an MASSP Data Protocol workshop, we recommend you start with a “DP2” session. Those who have attended a DP2 in the past and would like support getting deeper into the ELA and Math curriculum aspects should send a team to a DP3 session:

We look forward to supporting all of our member schools as we collectively strive to be a Top 10 education state in the next 10 years.

MDE Spotlight on Assessment

Written by Wendy Zdeb, MASSP Executive Director