New accountability system grades Minnesota schools

As kids start a new year in class, the Minnesota Department of Education is now measuring their performance in new ways.

It’s called North Star. It measures student and school district achievement in five areas: academic achievement, progress toward English language proficiency, academic progress, graduation rate and school attendance.

Across the state, the new performance measures shows challenges.

As of 2017, only 56 percent of students statewide are performing at grade level in math - only 59 percent in reading. The statewide high school graduation rate is 82 percent.

The scores in Minneapolis schools are even more challenging. Just 39 percent of students are performing at grade level in math and 42 percent are performing at grade level in reading. The high school graduation rate is just 66 percent.

None of these is a surprise to Minneapolis Public Schools Chief Accountability Officer Eric Moore.

“One of the things we do know with our math scores is that while our math scores remain constant, the state’s math scores decreased by two percent, in literacy we’ve increased, the state has remained flat,” said Moore. “So, I think it’s a statewide challenge.”  

Minneapolis begins the school year with a fresh start. Superintendent Ed Graff welcomed students to their first day of classes this week and the district has already used its new achievement data to drive changes.

“A new year is beginning,” said Moore. “We’ve already used information to plan better experiences for our students. So the extent that this is a summary for our families as well as our district, this is a positive, but our day one is to build the best experience possible.”  

For MPS parents who see the new performance numbers and have concerns, Moore challenges them to reach out.

“So I would say come visit our schools come talk to our leaders and then make your determination based on that,” said Moore.  

At MPS, the numbers show a slight uptick in literacy achievement with a two percent increase. Moore says what the numbers don’t show is that MPS doubled their growth in academic growth in literacy achievement. Math, however is still a challenge. The numbers there are flat.