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MINNEAPOLIS, MN—Today MinnCAN analyzed the newly released National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2015 Mathematics and Reading assessment results, also known as the Nation’s Report Card—a trusted, consistent and objective measure of student achievement that allows for apples to apples comparisons of proficiency across the country. Overall, Minnesota students' proficiency rates slipped, with achievement gaps widening rather than shrinking for most student groups:

  • Proficiency gaps grew in the following cases:
  • White-black (fourth-grade math, fourth-grade reading, eighth-grade math);
  • White-Latino (fourth-grade reading);
  • White-Asian (fourth-grade math, fourth-grade reading, eighth-grade reading); and
  • low-income/non-low-income (fourth-grade reading).
  • One bright spot: Latino student proficiency in eighth-grade reading increased 9 percentages points between 2013 and 2015, narrowing the white-Latino proficiency gap.

In addition to providing another important reminder of achievement gaps within the state, NAEP also offers the chance to compare Minnesota students, broken down by a variety of subgroups, to their peers in other states. Although in some subjects and for some subgroups Minnesota ranks well or at about average, on a variety of measures, children of color are performing much better in other states:

  • For fourth-grade reading scores, Minnesota ranks 40th for black students and 49th for Latino students.
  • For eighth-grade reading scores, Minnesota ranks 28th for black students.

“Our hope is always to see progress over time,” said MinnCAN Executive Director Daniel Sellers. “When we see that this is not happening, and that we're even sliding back in some areas, it should be an urgent call to action. What can we learn from the bright spots, whether those are other states across the nation that are helping historically underserved students succeed or changing-the-odds schools here in Minnesota? What has led to our increases in Latino reading proficiency, and how can we help all students make those same gains, and then more?

“From rethinking school funding models to overhauling teacher recruitment and retention strategies, other states are adopting innovative policies and programs to meet the demands of their students. When, overall, our students of color are so far behind where they need to be, and we know that these kids are a growing demographic critical to the future of our state, we must call on ourselves to be more focused and innovative. We know that all kids can succeed with the right support and resources. Let’s use this morning’s NAEP results as a wake-up call, roll up our sleeves and ask, How can we use targeted, equity-based and student-centered strategies to improve academic opportunities across the state, particularly for children of color? At MinnCAN, we look forward to helping our state leaders ask and answer that question during the 2016 legislative session and beyond.”

For more information or interviews with Daniel Sellers, contact MinnCAN Public Affairs Manager Ariana Kiener: 612-666-3066 or ariana.kiener@minncan.org.

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About MinnCAN: MinnCAN advocates for the success of every Minnesota child, from pre-K through college and career. We improve policy to help all students thrive and share promising practices and stories to demonstrate that all kids CAN succeed. Learn more at www.minncan.org.


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