LANSING (AP) — Eleventh-graders would no longer take the
MEAP test but instead be tested with a version of a college
entrance exam under legislation approved yesterday by the state
Senate.

The bills don’t specify a replacement test but two of
three components of the proposed new test resemble the ACT and an
ACT work skills exam.

All 11th-graders would start taking the test in the 2006-07
school year. A sample group could begin taking it next school
year.

The Michigan Educational Assessment Program is the state’s
K-12 standardized testing system. The legislation doesn’t
affect elementary and middle school students who take the MEAP.

The new test would include a college entrance exam that tests
English, math, reading and science and a “wraparound”
exam with a work skills component and a social studies test.
Students wouldn’t pay for the test.

The new test also would be used to determine eligibility for the
Michigan Merit Award.

Supporters say the new test, called the Michigan Merit Exam,
would better prepare students for college and the workplace. It
also wouldn’t take as much time to administer.

Another rationale is that students would take the new test more
seriously because it would have a bearing on their college
admission or post-high school employment.

“This change would give students and their parents a
strong reason to take the test seriously,” said Sen. Wayne
Kuipers (R-Holland). “We want to use a standardized test that
students can use to apply to college instead of one that is used
only by the state.”

Replacing the MEAP test also is being considered by Lt. Gov.
John Cherry’s commission studying higher education and
economic growth. The Cherry commission’s report is expected
next month.

Kuipers has said it appears the Cherry commission will endorse
switching from the MEAP.

The Senate voted 35-1 to approve the legislation yesterday.

Republican Sen. Laura Toy of Livonia voted no, citing complaints
from school officials in her district who thought it would cost
more to administer a new test.

Democratic Sens. Dennis Olshove of Warren and Buzz Thomas of
Detroit were absent and didn’t vote.

The legislation next heads to the House.

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