There is a long-standing and well-documented connection between a school's poverty rate and achievement on standardized tests. As these charts show, schools with lower poverty rates tend to have higher scores. As a result, schools serving large numbers of poor students have a different perspective on what achievement looks like.
To level this playing field, the Star Tribune uses a statistical analysis called linear regression to compare each school's proficiency rates in math and reading to what it was expected to achieve based on its poverty level.
In the charts, the lines represent the predicted proficiency rate. The schools — represented by dots — that are within 10 percentage points of that line are considered to be doing about as expected, while those farther below the line are falling short of expectations. Along the top, though, is where you'll find the schools that are beating the odds.
Use the search tool below to find out whether your school is beating the odds. Either select from the list or start typing a school name. You can also see a school's data by clicking or tapping on a dot in the scatterplots.
We have included Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment results from the 2018-19 school year through 2022-23, though tests were not given in spring 2020 due to the pandemic. Rochester Public Schools are not included because the district didn't give MCA tests in 2022-23 due to technical problems.
Data analysis by MaryJo Webster
Design and development by Tom Nehil, Jeff Hargarten, Alan Palazzolo
*Missing data points in the line charts could either mean that the school was not in existence that year or that the Minnesota Department of Education did not make test results available to the public because less than 10 students were tested in each grade.
The Star Tribune used a linear regression analysis to compare each school's Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment proficiency rates for math and reading to expected proficiency rates based on the school's percentage of students on free or reduced-price lunch (a common proxy for estimating a school's poverty rate). Schools with poverty rates above 90% are identified here at the 90% mark because those figures are suppressed by the Minnesota Department of Education.
Only public schools that tested at least 25 students, across all grades, in 2023 were included in the analysis; alternative learning and special education schools were not included. MCA tests are given in third through eighth grades and 10th and 11th grades.
Schools were identified as "falling short" if the actual proficiency rate was 10 percentage points or more lower than the expected rate. Schools were classified as "better than expected" if their rate was 10 percentage points or more greater than the expected rate. All schools between those marks were categorized "as expected."