Minnesota students continue to see pandemic impacts to math and reading

Published 3:33 pm Thursday, August 25, 2022

By Elizabeth Shockman, Minnesota Public Radio News

New state test data released Thursday, shows the majority of Minnesota students are below state proficiency standards in math, and just over half are proficient in reading — a sharp decline since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just under 52 percent of students met or exceeded reading standards — a drop of eight percentage points since schools moved to distance learning at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fewer than 46 percent of students statewide met or exceeded math standards — a drop of 10 percentage points from 2019.

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Minnesota schools were far less able to give students of color what they needed to learn than white students. Test scores revealed deep inequities along lines of race, English language learner status and household income.

This year’s North Star Accountability test scores are pulled from 2022 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs) and the Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS used for some students with disabilities).

The state department of education has identified 371 schools, including 15 entire school districts for training and support over the next three years based on their results from standardized tests, graduation rates and attendance, among other indicators.

“We know our schools are in need of ongoing support as they work to meet our students where they are now and take them to where they need to be by the end of this school year,” Education Commissioner Heather Mueller said in a statement. “That’s why MDE is strengthening our partnership with school communities to provide them with the support they need so all students can have the successful school year they deserve.”

In St. Paul, Minnesota’s second largest district, there were slight gains in 2021-22 MCA test scores, compared to 2021. Thirty-five percent of students showed proficiency in reading — up 2 percentage points from 2020-21, but down five percentage points from 2018-19. Only a quarter of St. Paul students tested as proficient in math — a gain of 4 percentage points from 2020-21, but down from nearly a third of students in 2018-19.