The Minnesota Department of Education has identified 371 public schools that require intense support based on a mix of standardized test scores, attendance, English proficiency and graduation rates.
The state updated its North Star accountability system this week for the first time since the pandemic began in 2020. It will release more information, including statewide test scores, on Thursday.
Issues wrought by the pandemic, such as difficulty tracking attendance and low test participation in 2021 — plus the fact that those assessments didn't happen in 2020 — spurred state education leaders to adjust their methodology slightly.
However, they retained the same goal as they did in 2018 of identifying which schools need the most support from the state's limited resources.
"While our lives are returning to a sense of normalcy, we know our schools are in need of ongoing support as they work to meet our students where they are now and take them to where they need to be by the end of this school year," Education Commissioner Heather Mueller said in a statement.
The Education Department did not make Mueller available for interviews before press time. She will hold a news conference Thursday morning.
This year's report said 43 schools fell short in every measure. The Education Department will provide training for officials in those schools and assistance from its Regional Centers of Excellence over the next three years.
Officials said 64 schools identified in the 2018 report have shown some progress but will continue to receive support.
The state's four-year graduation rate had been rising slowly in recent years but dipped slightly in 2021. Still, the Education Department identified 103 high schools with four-year graduation rates below 67%, which qualified them for further support.
For the first time, the department also provided additional support to high schools where a large share of students are referred to credit recovery programs.
"These statewide assessment results reinforce what we already know — our students, families, school communities and educators need us to continue to meet this moment," Mueller said in a news release.