MDE Press Release: Commissioner Ricker: 'The state of our students is promising'

30 Aug 2019 2:54 PM | Anne Zaslofsky (Administrator)
Press Release Minnesota Department of Education

For Immediate Release

Contact: Emily Bisek


August 29, 2019

Previous Announcements

Commissioner Ricker: ‘The state of our students is promising’

New State of Our Students report, compiling multiple data points, including 2019 North Star results, reveals promising, comprehensive picture of Minnesota students

ROSEVILLE, MN — Today, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released the State of Our Students report, a first-of-its-kind compilation of multiple data, including 2019 accountability data from the North Star accountability system. North Star data in the report show that no new schools are identified for support under the 2019 North Star data, beyond schools already receiving support from MDE.

“The state of our students is promising, and it’s up to us to meet their promise with our support,” said Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker. “Too often, we condense our students down to one single data point, which eliminates everything about our students that make them who they are. By looking at a broader collection of data side-by-side, we can easily see the many things we have to celebrate about our students and the best strategies to support them to reach their full potential. My promise to our students is to continue seeing their strengths, persist alongside them and tackle the barriers that stand in their way.”

The State of Our Students report finds:

  • The number of American Indian students taking the ACT has more than doubled since 2014.
  • ACT participation increased 70 percent for black students between 2014 and 2018.
  • 70 percent of black high school graduates enrolled in higher education within 16 months of graduation.
  • 76.3 percent of Hispanic students graduated high school in seven years.
  • Minnesota’s English learners speak 226 different languages all together.
  • The four-year graduation rate for students concentrating in Career and Technical Education (CTE), students completing 240 CTE course hours within one career field, is 92 percent.
  • 83.2 percent of all Minnesota students graduated high school in four years, the highest rate on record.
  • 62.8 percent of students with disabilities were educated in a general education classroom for at least 80 percent of their day.

“The way we use data influences the decisions that we make. By looking at a more complete picture of our students, I am dedicated to find ways to best serve every student,” said Commissioner Ricker. “The State of Our Students report clearly tells me that our students take advantage of every opportunity brought to them. When we open the doors, our students bust through them. Our students’ potential, and their determination to succeed, is more than ambitious—it is promising for our future and meeting their ambition with our support that will turn Minnesota into the Education State.”

The report shows that persistent gaps between student groups remain largely the same from 2018 to 2019.  For American Indian students, 57.6 percent consistently attended at least 90 percent of school days, compared to 78.8 percent of Hispanic students and 91.3 percent of Asian students.  2019 math achievement rates dipped slightly for all students in 2019, with rates for each individual student group following suit. Reading achievement rates held steady from 2018 to 2019, and gaps between student groups remained much the same.

“Gaps needs to be closed,” said Commissioner Ricker. “Minnesota students face gaps in learning, housing, household income, health and more. That’s why I’m committed to finding ways to serve the whole child, so all children have the support they need to succeed in the classroom. If we keep doing the same things, we will keep getting the same results. I am committed to reimagining what education can be in the state of Minnesota. And that includes resisting the urge to rely on test scores as our sole indicator of progress.”

North Star Accountability System

The State of Our Students Report includes an update on Minnesota’s North Star accountability system launched in 2018 to identify schools for support. The North Star accountability system was developed over recent years in partnership with thousands of Minnesotans and dozens of community organizations to satisfy and align requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the state’s World’s Best Workforce law (WBWF).

North Star uses data from the five key indicators — achievement and progress on state reading and math tests over time, progress toward English language proficiency, graduation rates and consistent attendance. Under the system, the state is better able to identify schools that consistently perform at high levels across multiple domains and schools that need support in reaching their goals. The five indicators expand the use of data beyond test scores.


View an Excel file containing North Star accountability data, including achievement and progress on state reading and math tests over time, progress toward English language proficiency, graduation rates and consistent attendance.

Parents and community members can review a variety of data points, including North Star data for schools and districts, by visiting the Minnesota Report Card. Visitors to the site will find information about schools recognized for excellence or prioritized for support. The report card includes a narrative provided directly from the local school as well as information about all schools and districts, including North Star results, staffing data, preschool participation, rigorous course-taking patterns and more. To comply with federal laws, changes have been made in the Minnesota report card to protect the identity of students. Data reported on less than 10 students in a category will no longer be available in the assessment reports on the Minnesota Report Card.

© 2018 Minnesota School Psychologists Association

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