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Minnesota test scores are dropping, Dept. of Education launches recovery program

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Minnesota testing scores have taken a dip in 2021.

"Because of the disruptions and shifts in learning model, because of all the things that were happening across the state of Minnesota, we believe that we would see a drop in scores. And that is what we saw," Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Heather Mueller said.

Roughly 44 percent of students met state standards in math, down from 55 percent in spring of 2019, when tests were last administered. 53 percent met the reading standards, dropping seven percent.

"What we don't want to do is dwell in those numbers and admire that gap," Mueller said. "What we want to be able to do is be proactive and be really thoughtful on how we respond."

That response from the Minnesota Department of Education is called COMPASS, or Collaborative Minnesota Partnerships to Advance Student Success. The recovery initiative is an effort fronted by the MDE, Minnesota Service Cooperatives and Regional Centers of Excellence. COMPASS aims to provide support for data analysis and data literacy training and targeted support plans in the areas of literacy, math and social-emotional learning.

"We are creating a structure to really help our schools navigate more students needing help," Mueller continued.

Rochester's Sylvan Learning has felt the increase for student support first hand, especially with younger students.

"With students doing hybrid, all distance learning, going back into the classroom and switching back and forth," Rochester Sylvan Learning Director of Education Aynsley Allert said. "And we've seen students needing additional support."

Allert assures students that catching up is possible.

Rochester Sylvan Learning is located at 154 17th Ave NW
Rochester, MN 55901. "We see students that can be struggling at the beginning of this school year really blossom as the year goes on," Sylvan Learning director of education Aynsley Allert said.

"We see students that can be struggling at the beginning of this school year really blossom as the year goes on," she said.

Adding, that at the end of the day, one bad test score, doesn't define a student's success.

"Keep going. Never give up. We can help you," she said.

While turning testing scores around may be a goal, Mueller hopes that students are successful inside and outside of the classroom.

"The tests are actually just one measure on one day. It's never about an individual student. It is really looking at a system and structure, and that's why it's nice for the district level and state level. For individual students, it doesn't give the clarity about what their growth has been," Mueller said. "What I actually hope for our students, that when they get to the end of the this year, they had a school year where they were able to build relationships with their teachers, build relationships with their peers. That they feel their mental health is stable. That they are socially, emotionally well. They know they are cared about and valued when they walk into school and out of school. And that they know they matter every single day."

For more information regarding COMPASS, click here. Statewide Assessment results can be accessed here.

Sylvan Learning is switching into its school year schedule, offering tutoring Monday through Saturday, starting next week. They are still accepting students who need some extra help.

Beret Leone

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