Social Studies News and Updates

September 2019

MDE Accepting Applications for Social Studies Item Writers and Review Committee Members!

Be part of the team that contributes to the development of our state’s benchmark and summative assessments. This is a fantastic opportunity for educators to gain a valuable professional learning experience, become more familiar with the state’s assessment system, collaborate with other educators, and earn a little extra money for their expertise, time, and contributions.

The MDE relies on teachers from all content areas, K-12, from across the state to help develop, write, and review items for our state assessments, including M-STEP, MI-Access, and Early Literacy and Mathematics Benchmark Assessments. Our online application process recently underwent some improvements and is now back up and ready to go! This application process lets teachers apply to work on any of the following committees:

  • Content Advisory Committees – to review and make content related recommendations to items before and after field testing
  • Bias and Sensitivity Committees - to review and make bias and sensitivity related recommendations to items before and after field testing
  • Item Writers – to write items for Michigan Assessment Programs (M-STEP, MI-Access, Michigan Early Literacy and Mathematics Benchmark Assessments)
  • Rangefinding Committees – To set the “range” for score point designation from an established rubric for hand scoring items such as constructed response items.
  • Standard Setting – to follow a prescribed process post-test administration to recommend cut scores or re-establish cut scores based on performance level descriptors and performance data. This process happens periodically during the life of an assessment, less frequently than the other committees above.

Interested educators are encouraged to learn more about the state’s assessment system generally and to access the online application at the MDE’s main website. Select “Student Assessment” from the navigational options listed on the MDE homepage. The online application can also be found at the M-STEP, MI-Access, and Early Literacy and Mathematics Benchmark Assessment web pages. For your convenience, a direct link to the application can be found at

Professional Development Opportunities

The registration links for the professional learning opportunities are now available. All are new except the MDE Social Studies Standards Rollout on Monday, October 14.


US History - Grade 5, 8, and HS

Social Studies Teacher Leaders Meetings

High School