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Minnesota Students' Reading And Math Scores Slipping Amid COVID Pandemic

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — Minnesota students scored dramatically worse on this year's reading and math assessment tests after the pandemic disrupted school settings.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Friday only 44% of students were proficient in math, down 11 percentage points from 2019, and 53% were proficient in reading, down 7 points from two years ago. Students didn't take the tests last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Black and Hispanic students' math proficiency rate fell 34% compared with 19% for white students.

About 77% of eligible students completed the tests, down from the usual 98%.

The St. Paul school district's proficiency ratings were especially poor, with just 33% of students testing proficient in reading, down 6 percentage points from 2019, and 21% testing proficient in math, down 9 points. Only about half of eligible students in the districts took the tests, though, making it hard to draw conclusions from the data, said Stacey Gray Akyea, the district's research director.

After seeing the results, the state launched a new program called COMPASS and stands for Collaborative Minnesota Partnerships to Advance Student Success. The education commissioner says it's all about bringing different groups of educators together.

"They are coming together to be able to build that structure, to be able to offer not only offer professional learning opportunities, to be able to coach and partner with our school leaders on specific initiatives that they've identified, and to really be able to build the structures that we know are the best evidence-based and research-based practices that help to meet those student needs," education commissioner Dr. Heather Mueller said.

The Biden administration in April granted Minnesota a waiver from using the results to identify which low-performing schools get state support.

In addition to these standardized test results out today, a WCCO Investigation is going even further. Liz Collin got report card transcripts from more than a dozen school districts from the past three years. See what we learned about the pandemic's impact on students grades Monday night at 10 p.m.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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