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Minnesota's high school graduation rate hit record high in 2018

It was revealed as part of Minnesota's first 'State of our Students' report.

More students than ever graduated high school last year, with 4-year graduation rates up across the board.

The finding was released in Minnesota's first "State of our Students" report released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Education.

The four-year graduation rate hit 83.2 percent, up 0.5 percent on 2017 and the highest rate on record.

Graduation rates went up for students in every ethnic and social background, with the gap between black and white students closing after black graduation rates rose 2.7 percent.

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Other standout stats from the report includes that double the number of American Indian students took their ACT in 2018 compared to 4 years earlier.

Minnesotans who took the ACT scored 21.3 on average (out of 36), which is higher than the national average of 20.8.

Another positive aspect is that no new schools have been identified as requiring more support through the department's North Star Schools accountability system, which went live last year and identified 357 schools that require improvement.

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But it was not all good news for Minnesota students, with reading scores on the Minnesota Comprehensive Tests (MCAs) dropping, while math scores continued to fall for the 4th straight year.

There are also major gaps between racial groups when it comes to math scores, with almost two-thirds of white students meeting proficiency standards, but just 26 percent of black and American Indian students, per the Star Tribune.

The report for the first time looks at a multitude facets that make up Minnesota's student body, including breaking down those who, for example, may be experiencing homelessness, as the education department aims to build up a fuller picture of the state's schools system, and use it to inform strategic priorities.

"Too often, we condense our students down to one single data point, which eliminates everything about our students that make them who they are," Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker said.

"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."

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