Report shows Minnesota students behind in math, reading following pandemic

For the last two years, COVID-19 forced many students across the state out of schools and onto Zoom for virtual learning. That time out of the classroom can be seen in the results from statewide tests released Thursday.

The Northstar Accountability Report contains the results from state assessments which includes the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs), Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS), ACCESS for ELLs (English Language Learners) and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs.

The 2022 report shows most Minnesota students are falling behind state standards in Math and only about 50% of students are proficient in reading.

Overall, 2022 results show a decrease in the number of students meeting or exceeding grade level standards compared to last year.

"We do recognize that this information is something that really reinforces our need to provide support," said Minnesota Education Commissioner Dr. Heather Mueller.

She says the data is what it is, and she's choosing to focus on what can be done in the future. 

"We need to be able to know each one of our students, that they need to be seen, valued and heard," said Mueller.

That includes expanding COMPASS, the state's support system for schools created during the pandemic. It aims to increase resources for both students and staff.

"What we need to be able to do is really give them the time and the space to be able to meet each individual student where they are and take them where they need to be by the end of the school year," said Mueller.

But making up for pandemic learning lost may require extra support on top of school for some.

"Even two years later, we know that the pandemic exacerbated the achievement and opportunity, particularly among our most disadvantaged students, students of color, and rural students," said Lizzie Morris Vogt, director of partnerships for Reading Corps + Math Corps.

Reading Corps and Math Corps offered free virtual tutoring throughout the summer, and that service will continue when kids are back in class.

"Tutoring allows individualized approaches really focusing on what are those specific skills that students are missing and need to get back on track," said Morris Vogt.