For the first time since the state began reporting achievement gap data more than a decade ago, national test results released today show that Minnesota is making significant progress in narrowing the achievement gap between white students and students of color. According to the 2013 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) -- otherwise known as the "Nation's Report Card" -- math scores among Minnesota fourth grade students were the best in the country this year, and reading scores showed significant achievement gap closures. Additionally, fourth and eighth grade students this year recorded the best scores in math and reading since NAEP scores started being collected in Minnesota.
"These results are very encouraging, especially among our state's youngest children," said Governor Mark Dayton. "I congratulate Minnesota students, educators, and parents for their hard work. Today's report shows important progress toward narrowing achievement gaps between students of color and white students. The additional investments in early learning scholarships and all-day kindergarten, which were approved by the Legislature this year, will help build on this progress."
Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius pointed to several initiatives that have contributed to this success, including: significant investments in early education by Governor Dayton and the Legislature, the new "Read Well by Third Grade" law that includes a requirement for every district to create a literacy plan, Minnesota's waiver from the federal "No Child Left Behind" law, and more rigorous reading and math standards.
"Today's results are first and foremost a testament to the incredible work of teachers who know that every child matters," said Commissioner Cassellius. "It also shows that if we focus our efforts on the things that work -- setting high standards, holding schools accountable, supporting great teachers and investing in early learning -- we will get results."