After Michigan K-12 students scored terribly on the latest statewide, standardized tests a website has come forward with a more comprehensive grading process that concludes 80 percent of the best elementary schools are located in Oakland County.

Before you assume that this list is some kind of PR gimmick initiated by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, consider how Niche.com reached these questionable conclusions.

Niche’s ranking factors went beyond scores on the M-STEP exam to include student-teacher ratios, student diversity, teacher quality, grade school ratings by the public, and the overall quality of the school district. The site produces similar rankings across the country and claims that it incorporates “millions” of reviews from students and parents, using data from the U.S. Department of Education.

Yet, a list that puts the top nine elementaries all within the Troy School District certainly deserves skepticism.

It’s important to note that Niche also places an emphasis on the quality of neighborhoods surrounding each school. That would tend to shift the outcome in favor or upscale suburban schools. But Troy’s fantastic success on this list would certainly raise questions from the Birmingham, Bloomfield and Grosse Pointe school districts.

The site is directed at young couples who are choosing a place to live based, at least in part, on the strength of the local schools.

So, here is Niche’s Top 30 rankings of best public elementary schools in Michigan, including a letter grade for each school building:

  1. Wattles Elementary School (Troy School District) — A+
    2. Leonard Elementary School (Troy School District) — A+
    3. Wass Elementary School (Troy School District) — A+
    4. Schroeder Elementary School (Troy School District) — A+
    5. Bemis Elementary School (Troy School District) — A+
    6. Hill Elementary School (Troy School District) — A+
    7. Hamilton Elementary School (Troy School District) — A+
    8. Barnard Elementary School (Troy School District) — A+
    9. Costello Elementary School (Troy School District) — A+
    10. Eastover Elementary School (Bloomfield Hills Schools) — A+
    11. Conant Elementary School (Bloomfield Hills Schools) — A+
    12. Martell Elementary School (Troy School District) — A+
    13. Bingham Farms Elementary School (Birmingham Public Schools) — A+
    14. Deerfield Elementary School (Novi Community School District) — A+
    15. Parkview Elementary School (Novi Community School District) — A+
    16. Canton Charter Academy (Canton Township, Mich.) — A+
    17. Beverly Elementary School (Birmingham Public Schools) — A+
    18. Birmingham Covington School (Birmingham Public Schools) — A+
    19. Okemos Public Montessori School at Central (Okemos Public Schools) — A+
    20. Novi Woods Elementary School (Novi Community School District) — A+
    21. Village Oaks Elementary School (Novi Community School District) — A+
    22. Morse Elementary School (Troy School District) — A+
    23. Way Elementary School (Bloomfield Hills Schools) — A+
    24. West Maple Elementary School (Birmingham Public Schools) — A+
    25. Stevens T. Mason Elementary School (Grosse Pointe Public Schools) — A+
    26. Achieve Charter Academy (Canton Township, Mich.) — A+
    27. Troy Union Elementary School (Troy School District) — A+
    28. Plymouth Scholars Charter Academy (Plymouth, Mich.) — A+
    29. Pierce Elementary School (Birmingham Public Schools) — A+
    30. Hiawatha Elementary School (Okemos Public Schools) — A+

The M-STEP exam quizzes students from the 3rd to 11th grade in a variety of subject matters based on English, math, science and social studies.

The overall M-STEP scores released by the state Department of Education last week revealed a dreadful outcome, with more than half of all students failing the exam across all grades and subjects tested, except for fifth-grade English language arts.

Bridge Magazine created a map of M-STEP test scores for each Michigan high school that shows an unmistakable connection between a community’s wealth and income and its student’s learning accomplishments.

As WDIV-TV in Detroit reported, the SchoolDigger.com website came up with decidedly different rankings for the best Michigan elementary schools based solely on M-STEP scores.

Here is SchoolDigger’s Top 30 ratings:

  1. Brown Elementary School (Byron Center Public Schools)
    2. Handley School (Saginaw School District)
    3. Webster Elementary School (Livonia Public Schools District)
    4. Hemmeter Elementary School (Saginaw Township Community Schools)
    5. Musson Elementary School (Rochester Community School District)
    6. Schroeder Elementary School (Troy School District)
    7. Holmes Elementary School (Spring Lake Public Schools)
    8. Jeffers Elementary School (Spring Lake Public Schools)
    9. Rosy Mound School (Grand Haven Area Public School)
    10. University Hills Elementary Schools (Rochester Community School District)
    11. Lewis Maire Elementary School (Grosse Pointe Public Schools)
    12. Bemis Elementary School (Troy School District)
    13. Angell School (Ann Arbor Public Schools)
    14. Lakewood Elementary School (West Ottawa Public School District)
    15. Amerman Elementary School (Northville Public Schools)
    16. Ada Elementary School (Forest Hills Public Schools)
    17. Okemos Public Montessori-Central (Okemos Public Schools)
    18. Eberwhite School (Ann Arbor Public Schools)
    19. Lakeside School (East Grand Rapids Public Schools)
    20. Plymouth Scholars Charter Academy (Plymouth)
    21. Peach Plains School (Grand Haven Area Public Schools)
    22. Martin Luther King Elementary School (Ann Arbor Public Schools)
    23. Breton Downs School (East Grand Rapids Public Schools)
    24. Bach Elementary School (Ann Arbor Public Schools)
    25. Novi Woods Elementary School (Novi Community School District)
    26. Messmore Elementary School (Utica Community Schools)
    27. Moraine Elementary School (Northville Public Schools)
    28. North Hill Elementary School (Rochester Community School District)
    29. Achieve Charter Academy (Canton Township)
    30. Leonard Elementary School (Troy School District)
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