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Tests: Minnesota student grades down since 2019

(The Center Square) – The Minnesota Department of Education released the 2023 statewide assessment results showing some scores dropped 10 percentage points below pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

The 2023 North Star Accountability report includes the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, Minnesota Test of Academic Skills, Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs.

Assessment results include a 1% increase in overall math scores, a 1% decrease in reading scores and a 2% decrease in science scores since assessments were last completed in 2022. Scores in each assessment area remain about 10 percentage points below their pre-pandemic levels from 2019.

“These statewide assessment results reinforce what we and other states around the country already know – our students, families, school communities, and educators are continuing to recover from the pandemic and need our support,” Commissioner Willie Jett said in a statement. “This data is important as one part of a broader set of measures that tell us how our students and families are doing and what we need to do in partnership with our school communities to provide support for students to not only recover, but also excel.”

Students take statewide reading assessments in grades 3-8 and 10. Of the students who took the reading MCA and MTAS, 49.9% met or exceeded grade-level standards, down 1.2 percentage points from 2022.

In math, 45.5% of students in grades 3-8 and 11 who took the MCA or MTAS met or exceeded grade-level standards, up 0.7 percentage points from 2022.

The state’s goal is for 90% of students to demonstrate grade-level math and reading performance by 2025.

The science MCA and MTAS are administered to students in grades five and eight and once in high school. In 2023, 39.2% of students who took the assessments met or exceeded grade-level standards, which is a 2.1 percentage point drop from 2022.

ACCESS for ELLs measures students’ English language proficiency. Of the students who took the ACCESS for ELLs in 2023, 8.6% were proficient in English, a 0.2 percentage point decrease from 2022.

MDE released attendance data for the 2021-22 school year – the first attendance data release since 2019. North Star Attendance data tracks consistent attendance, or the number of students who are attending school at least 90% of the time and aren’t chronically absent. Statewide consistent attendance fell to 69.8% of students attending at least 90% of the time. Before the pandemic, Minnesota’s consistent attendance rate was about 85%.

“We will not shy away from what the data are telling us,” Jett continued. “These results send a renewed sense of urgency and underscore the importance of key supports that are already underway.” 

Statewide assessment results are available in the Minnesota Report Card and MDE’s Data Center.

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