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Minnesota sees drop in 2021 test scores across all students

The state is taking action by launching a recovery program.

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released 2021 statewide testing data early Friday morning.

The data shows a decline in the number of students meeting or exceeding grade-level standards, reinforcing the need for support following the COVID pandemic.

The new numbers looked at state testing in 2021 compared to 2019, the last time students took statewide tests.

The decline in test scores was seen across all students, but was greatest among American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latino, Black, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students, English learners, students eligible for free or reduced-price meals and students receiving special education services.

Overall, here's how the scores stacked up compared to 2019 - not all grades are tested on certain subjects. 

  • Reading scores down 7% (3rd-8th grade and 10th grade)
  • Math scores down 11% (3rd-8th grade and 11th grade)
  • Science scores down 8% (5th and 8th grade and tested once in high school)

KARE 11's Hanna Conway took a closer look at the data. She looked at the average percentage of proficiency, proficiency meaning students who met or exceeded standards.

Reading Average Proficiency (3rd-8th, and 10th grade):

  • Minneapolis Public Schools – 6.37%
  • Anoka-Hennepin – 11.49%
  • South St. Paul – Data not released

Math Average Proficiency (3rd-8th and 11th grade):

  • Minneapolis Public Schools – 35.39%
  • Anoka-Hennepin – 48.50%
  • South St. Paul – 23.74%

Science Average Proficiency (5th and 8th grade and tested once in high school):

  • Minneapolis Public Schools – 38.37%
  • Anoka-Hennepin – 48.42%
  • South St. Paul – 26.82%

According to MDE, the drop in testing scores is happening nationwide and has been seen among other states who have publicly released their data. 

Education Commissioner Dr. Heather Mueller says the 2021 assessment results confirm what they already knew - that the pandemic has disrupted students' learning and they need to recover.

"The statewide assessment results confirm what we already knew—that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our students’ learning and they need our help to recover,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Heather Mueller. "As we head into a new school year, MDE stands ready to partner with our educators, school leaders and staff as they work to accelerate learning and provide social-emotional and mental health support for our students."

The same day MDE released the assessment results, the department also announced plans for a recovery program. 

"We did not wait for the data to be available before we began working to create opportunities for students to catch up,” said Dr. Mueller. "Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan’s COVID-19 Recovery Budget laid a foundation for expanded summer programming and other critical academic and social-emotional support to help get students on track. This system of support will build on those efforts into the school year and beyond."

The new program will be called COMPASS, which stands for Collaborative Minnesota Partnerships to Advance Student Success, the program aims to accelerate learning by helping students academically and socially.  

You can check how your student's school scored on the Minnesota Report Card online.

More information about the data gathered for this report can be accessed here. 

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