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Friday, March 31, 2023

Studies show, Minnesota students continue to struggle with math and reading proficiency

Two years after the COVID-19 outbreak began, Minnesota children’ math and reading skills are still declining.

According to statistics the state Department of Education published Thursday, less than half of pupils achieved proficiency in arithmetic, while reading scores are continuing to decline. Only 45% of kids who took the exam achieved arithmetic proficiency, while 51% of students achieved reading proficiency.

Since the epidemic, there has been a sharp decline in student competency, with math scores falling by 10% and reading scores by 7% since 2019. Prior to the pandemic, Minnesota’s reading and math test results were both flat and declining, respectively.

The state education commissioner, Heather Mueller, said in a statement, “These statewide assessment results reinforce what we already know: Our students, families, school communities, and educators need us to continue to meet this moment.”

In response, 371 schools and 15 whole school districts will get assistance from the state’s system of academic aids. Collaborative Minnesota Partnerships to Advance Student Success, or COMPASS, is a system that offers schools and districts more teaching resources to assist kids get on track.

At a press conference on Thursday, Mueller expects to go into further detail about the scores.

Measures of student achievement, attendance, and graduation rates are used by the state’s North Star accountability system to evaluate school performance. Every three years, troubled schools are recognized and given further governmental assistance.

Due to the pandemic, few students took the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs) in 2020, and participation was low in 2021. Different tests provided to students with impairments or those learning English are also included in the overall measures of competency.

The academic success gap between white children and kids of color, English language learners, and those living in poverty in Minnesota is among the greatest in the country. That disparity has become much worse because to the coronavirus outbreak.

For instance, just 20% of Black children in 2022 achieved arithmetic proficiency, compared to 54% of White pupils. While 59 percent of white students are proficient readers, only 28% of Native American students read at grade level.

According to Matt Shaver, policy director of EdAllies, an organization that fights for children and families who have traditionally been neglected by public schools, “for many, this data is likely to be a wake-up call.” “The epidemic interrupted learning for years, and it will take years of decision-making based on facts, data, and student focus to bring all pupils on track,”

Shaver continued, urging “evidence-based literacy teaching, supports for mental health, access to tutoring, and other services” as “measures we can take in the next year to steady the ship and engage directly in student needs.”

Federal funding for Minnesota’s districts and charter schools totaled more than $2.7 billion to combat the coronavirus outbreak. Roughly half of money was spent towards restarting schools safely and making up lost learning.

According to the North Star accountability system, test results in St. Paul are likewise declining, with just 21% of district children scoring at the competent level in arithmetic and 30% of pupils reading at grade level.

However, as required by federal school accountability regulations, it also includes every kid who tried a test. If test validity is the only metric used, St. Paul schools witnessed a slight improvement in proficiency scores, with 35% of students reading at grade level and 25% of students performing at grade level in arithmetic.

More than 20 St. Paul schools have been singled out for further state assistance. More than half of the district schools that state officials have designated as needing extra assistance are elementary schools.

A district spokesperson refused to comment on the findings on Wednesday, stating that district officials would do so when the state Department of Education made them public on Thursday morning.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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