Skip to main content

Little change in Minnesota students' test scores; 'achievement gap' still exists

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Minnesota student test scores showed little improvement on a key standardized exam, and results released Thursday show there is still a gap in scores between students of color and their white counterparts.

The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs) are designed to offer a snapshot of how well students statewide are meeting standards in reading, math and science.

Results show that the percent of students who are proficient in reading remained flat, while those proficient in math dropped a percentage point. Scores also show that the "achievement gap" still exists, with the Star Tribune reporting white students outperformed students of color by an average of more than 20 percentage points.

“We can never be satisfied with anything less than forward progress,” Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said in a news release. But she did say that a single test doesn't paint a "comprehensive picture of how a student is doing."

Reading scores remain flat

Results show that 59 percent of overall students tested proficient in reading on this year's exam – that's the same as last year, and only one point higher than 2013.

Sixty-seven percent of white students were found to be proficient in reading, while only 34 percent of black students, 36 percent of hispanic students and 38 of American Indian students were deemed proficient.

The reading test, which is measuring more critical thinking skills requiring students to read and comprehend longer stories, is still new, which is one factor in why the scores remain flat, Cassellius told the Star Tribune.

Math scores fall slightly

Meanwhile, overall scores in math fell 1 percent compared to last year, but are up 6 percent since new math test was implemented in 2011.

As was with reading, the "achievement gap" between white students and students of color exists, and the gap between black students and their white counterpart has grown slightly in the past two years, MPR News reports.

As for lack of improvement in math scores, Cassellius told the Star Tribune that the department is working on figuring out why that is, anticipating that the state will start offering more training for math teachers to help improve scores.

Computer glitches had no effect

State officials also noted that the widely reported problems involving the online testing platform while students were taking the test had no effect on overall scores.

Technical problems affected students and school districts around the state throughout the MCAs testing period this spring, but education officials found that "no statistical evidence to suggest that the disruption, on average, adversely impacted students who were testing" when the glitches occurred.

However, the analysis of the impact of other technical disruptions, including with the online calculator, lag time for questions to load, or students being logged out while taking the test, did not evaluate the impact of these issues on individual test scores.

The Department of Education says it is working with Pearson, the state's testing vendor, to determine financial consequences and possible changes to the contract ahead of the 2016 test.

Next Up

Julissa Thaler

Eli Hart killing: Police investigating multiple crime scenes

An announcement Tuesday confirmed potential crime scenes in Mound and Minnetrista.

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota strike.

Twin Cities mental health workers gather for 1-day strike

More than 400 mental health workers are participating in the unionized strike on Tuesday.

Bloomington Fire

HAZMAT team at Bloomington hotel following chemical spill in pool

The fire department said two hotel employees are being evaluated by paramedics.

Screen Shot 2022-03-24 at 9.21.32 AM

Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities gets $6M of Mackenzie Scott donation

The donation is the largest the organization has ever seen from a single individual.

Hennepin Avenue S.

Minneapolis accused of backtracking on 24/7 bus lanes for Hennepin Ave.

The Minneapolis City Council is set to vote on Thursday.

Pexels - face mask covid holding

Duluth brings back masking in city buildings amid COVID surge

Duluth, in one of the state's current COVID hotspots, has brought back a mask requirement in city buildings.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, May 24

Minnesota has now surpassed 12,600 COVID deaths.

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

Violent Offender Task Force in standoff with suspect in St. Cloud

Police announced the standoff at 10:14 a.m. Tuesday.

Screen Shot 2022-03-26 at 11.08.59 AM

Cause of fire that destroyed Waterville bar remains unknown

The fire destroyed the Funky Munky Bar and damaged several other properties.

dicks house of sport Minnetonka_48

Pro athletes to attend opening of Minnetonka Dick's Sporting Goods

The grand opening is set for June 3, with special guests appearing June 3-5.

Minneapolis police

Death of man found inside Minneapolis apartment ruled homicide

Anyone with information about the killing is asked to call 1-800-222-8477.

minnesota state fair bandshell concert

Minnesota State Fair reveals its free concert lineup for 2022

More than 900 performances will happen across numerous stages.


New data shows little change in Minnesota student test scores

Data released by the Minnesota Department of Education Wednesday revealed that reading and test scores among students in the state have remained relatively flat over previous years. Also, while the scores showed a wide achievement gap between white students and students of color, state officials are hoping a change in how testing data is evaluated will help them fix the persistent disparity.