Test Scores

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    The Nation’s Report Card is out Wednesday, and Minnesota’s fourth and eighth-grade students rank higher than the national average in math. And they’re meeting or surpassing national averages in reading.

    Minnesota’s fourth and eighth-grade math scores are not significantly different from average scores two years ago. Reading scores for Minnesota fourth-graders were also comparable to two years ago. But reading scores for Minnesota eighth-graders have fallen since 2017.

    Minnesota test scores buck some nationwide trends. Average reading scores have sunk in both the fourth and eighth grades nationally since 2017. Average math scores have also gone down nationally for eighth-graders. The only rise nationally is in fourth-grade math results.

    “The numbers are the reason for deep concern,” Education Secretary Betsey Devos said during a press conference on Wednesday. “This country has a student achievement crisis.”

    Only 38 percent of Minnesota fourth-graders and 34 percent of eighth-graders scored at or above NAEP proficiency levels in reading this year. These numbers have fallen by 5 percentage points for the state’s eighth-graders since 2017.

    NAEP data shows eighth-grade African-American students in Minnesota had an average math score that was 45 points lower than white students. Latino students in the same grade got an average score of 32 points lower than white students. And students eligible for the National School Lunch Program averaged a score that was 33 points lower than that of students not eligible for the program.

    “In order for Minnesota to become the education state, we must create an education system so students from all backgrounds receive the high-quality education they deserve and are ready for what’s next after high school,” Ricker said.

    Like many states, Minnesota continues to increase the spending per student and our educators use the spending per student as the reason for these lower test scores. Do you believe that more money is the way to improve our education system? Why do the test results continue to decline in spite of the fact that our spending increases? Could it be that our educational system is spending less time on critical reading, writing, and arithmetic? We seem to offer many new courses which have nothing to do with these three disciplines. What is your opinion as to why test scores continue to decline?

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