Academic Achievement

Student performance in Michigan is below average. Fourth graders stand 5 percentage points below the national average for students at or above the proficient level on the NAEP math exam. The national average is 42%.

Academic Achievement for Low-Income and Minority Students

Michigan earns a failing grade on academic achievement for low-income and minority students. Only 10% of African-American 4th graders score at or above the proficient level on the NAEP math exam. The national average is 18%.

Return on Investment

Student achievement in Michigan is very low relative to state spending after controlling for cost of living. 

Truth in Advertising: Student Proficiency

Michigan posts below average marks on the credibility of its student proficiency scores. The grade is based on the difference between the percentage of students identified as proficient in reading and math on the 2011 state exams and the percentage identified as proficient on the 2011 NAEP reading and math tests.

Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness

Michigan earns a below average grade preparing its students for college and careers. Seventy-seven percent of 9th grade students receive a diploma in four years, below the national average. 

21st Century Teacher Force

Michigan does a good job of creating a strong teacher workforce. While the Great Lakes State struggles with delivering well-prepared teachers, it has success identifying and retaining effective ones. 

Parental Options

Michigan does a good job providing parents with strong school choice options. Despite lacking a private school choice program, it has a strong charter school law that permits multiple authorizers and gives schools a high degree of freedom to operate. 

Data Quality

Michigan earns a very good grade collecting and reporting high-quality education data. It has an excellent K–12 to postsecondary data link and provided funding for a longitudinal data system.


Michigan receives an average grade employing technology to provide excellent instruction and personalized learning. Students have limited access to high-quality digital learning options.

International Competitiveness

Michigan receives a low grade preparing its students to compete in a global economy. Twenty-nine percent of students are proficient in reading and math compared with an international standard, which is below the national average.

Fiscal Responsibility

Michigan receives below average marks on fiscal responsibility, with just 61% of the state’s pension funded.