State of Minnesota releases 2015 school accountability results

ClassroomData show nearly two-thirds of schools on track to meet state’s goal of cutting achievement gaps in half by 2017

Nearly two-thirds of Minnesota schools are on track to reduce achievement gaps in reading and math by 50 percent by the year 2017. Additionally, 119 schools across Minnesota that serve racially and ethnically diverse student populations with high levels of poverty have demonstrated exemplary academic achievements in state exam proficiency, student growth, graduation rates and closing achievement gaps. This is according annual school performance data released today by the Minnesota Department of Education.

The 2015 Multiple Measurements Ratings (MMR) are part of Minnesota’s No Child Left Behind Flexibility waiver. The MMR evaluates a school’s performance on four key measures, including: 

  • Student proficiency on state exams.
  • Student growth over time.
  • Reduction of achievement gaps between white students and students of color, students living in poverty, students receiving special education services, and English learners.
  • Increased graduation rates for high schools. 

In order to reach the 2017 goal of cutting achievement gaps by 50 percent, each year schools must help more students reach increasingly challenging proficiency targets.

This year’s data show almost two-thirds of Minnesota schools are on track to reduce achievement gaps in reading and math by 50 percent by the year 2017. In reading, 43 percent of schools met their 2015 targets in every non-white student group, and an additional 22 percent met their targets for all but one. In math, 41 percent of schools met their 2015 targets for every non-white student group, and an additional 21 percent of schools met their targets for all but one.

“We have set an ambitious goal to close achievement gaps by half by 2017,” said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. “Every year we ask our schools to meet tougher and tougher targets, and every year I am inspired by the incredible dedication and passion of our educators to meet these targets and increase student achievement. There is still work to do, but I know our teachers and administrators are committed to helping every child succeed.”

Along with MMR scores for every school in the state, the department released the list of 2015 Reward schools—public schools that have demonstrated exemplary academic achievements in state exam proficiency, student growth, graduation rates and closing achievement gaps. Every year, the top 15 percent of schools that receive Title I funding (allocated to schools with high levels of students in poverty) are recognized as Reward schools. This year, 119 schools received the Reward designation. Thirty of those schools have achieved that designation four times, and 14 schools have achieved that designation for a fifth consecutive time.

“I want to congratulate each of the Reward schools today, and especially give big congratulations to the 14 schools receiving this designation for the fifth time in a row,” Cassellius said. “These schools have proven year after year that they are leaders in education for our state. I am excited to visit each of these schools and learn about best practices that can be shared with schools throughout Minnesota.” 

The Department will share lessons learned and strategies from these schools with other Minnesota schools.