On average, Minnesota performs well compared with all other states on standardized test scores, graduation rates, and college readiness. However, it has some of the largest gaps in the nation on these measures by race and socioeconomic status. In the last few years, graduation gaps have improved, yet gaps in racial and income gaps in standardized test scores and college readiness have widened.
The graduation gap between Black and white students decreased from 35 percentage points in 2003 to about 14 percentage points in 2018, which a similar decline among Hispanic students. The improvement for Native communities was smaller. Average graduation rates are lower in schools with a larger proportion of minority students.
These gaps are not only racial. Low-income white students significantly trail higher-income white students across Minnesota.
Variation in outcome gaps across schools also exist within the charter school system and across schools within traditional public-school districts.
In contrast, Indiana closed white-Black achievement gaps for both Grade 4 reading and Grade 8 math between 2003 and 2017 and had some of the smallest gaps in 2017. Oklahoma made progress in closing white-Black achievement gaps and had relatively small gaps in 2017.
All states showed signs of closing the white-Hispanic achievement gap for Grade 4 reading scores between 2003 and 2017, while a number of states made some progress in closing the white-Hispanic achievement gap for Grade 8 math scores. However, in Minnesota, the white-Hispanic achievement gap increased for Grade 8 math scores and the state had among the highest achievement gaps in 2017. Florida, Oklahoma, and Michigan were among states that showed signs of reducing white-Hispanic achievement gaps and also had relatively small gaps in 2017.
In 2017, Minnesota was among the states with the largest achievement gaps between students with free or reduce public lunch and those without. Wyoming, West Virginia, and Delaware had some of the smallest achievement gaps on this measure in both 2003 and 2017.
The report compared case studies of 12 of the high-performing disadvantaged districts in the U.S. to learn about commonalities. All of the districts prioritized providing early education. The high-performing districts focused on increasing or maximizing student learning time; attracting, developing, and retaining high-quality teachers; using data and coaching to improve instruction; and seeking additional outside resources.