Education commissioner calls state of Minnesota's students 'promising'

Minnesota education officials released the first ever “State of Our Students” report Thursday, which complied a broad collection of data to provide a comprehensive look at Minnesota’s students. 

Minnesota Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker called the state of Minnesota’s students “promising.” 

“Too often, we condense our students down to one single data point, which eliminates everything about our students that make them who they are,” Ricker said. “By looking at a broader collection of data side-by-side, we can easily seethe many things we have to celebrate about our students and the best strategies to support them to reach their full potential.”

The report found that gaps between student groups remained largely unchanged from 2018 to 2019. Overall, the state’s math achievement rates dipped slightly in 2019, while reading achievement rates remained steady. 

The report also found the following: 

  • 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.

Included in the report was an update on the state’s North Star program, launched in 2018 to identify schools for support. The North Star accountability system uses five key indicators—achievement and progress on state reading and math tests over time, progress toward English language proficiency, graduation rates and consistent attendance. 

Last year, 357 schools were identified for improvement and are receiving either comprehensive or targeted support from the state Department of Education. The North Star data included in the State of Our Students report showed no new schools were identified for support this year, beyond those that are already receiving support based on last year’s data.