The state is criticizing the 83-percent of poorly performing elementary and middle schools that gave themselves high marks on self-evaluations.
But a Detroit school spokesman says administrators are accurately responding to the state's questions.
The tests are based on eleven factors, including parental involvement and teacher quality.
The state issues annual report cards on which schools are making the grade under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
Michigan has more than 2,600 public elementary and middle schools. About 390 of them this year failed to comply with state guidelines. That's down from 488 last year.
The state Education Department says it will retool the self-reviews for the next school year.