Gov. Mark Dayton held a news conference Thursday to address Minnesota's narrowing student achievement gap, highlighting positive strides for the state's fourth- and eighth-graders.
Gov. Dayton and Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius reviewed new test scores released Thursday from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) - otherwise known as the "Nation's Report Card." The report showed Minnesota is moving in a positive direction in eliminating test score disparities between white and non-white students, a statewide issue.
Gov. Dayton announced Minnesota fourth-graders boast the highest math scores in the nation with more students performing at advanced levels than any other state. African American students performed fourth-highest in math scores compared to all African American students in the nation -- they were ranked 22nd in 2011.
"These results are very encouraging, especially among our state's youngest children," Dayton said in a news release. "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."
Fourth-graders posted the tenth-best reading scores in the country and gaps between white students and African American and Hispanic students closed by 10 test points. However, the gap between white and black students in math is the fourth-largest in the nation and that's still too wide and unacceptable, Dayton said.
Minnesota eighth-graders also posted the fifth-best math and eleventh-best reading marks.