0%: Not a single student proficient in math at 19 Minnesota schools

In 19 public schools across the state, not a single student tested could do grade-level math during the 2021-2022 school year, according to an American Experiment analysis of state assessment data.

Zero students at six traditional public schools, two online public schools, and 11 public charter schools demonstrated proficiency on the math Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) spring 2022. Additionally, zero students at one of the traditional public schools also could not read at grade level. Half of the traditional public schools with 0 percent proficiency are in the Minneapolis Public School district.

Among elementary schools in the Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts, seven had zero 5th graders demonstrate math proficiency.

This 0 percent proficiency does not include area learning centers, alternative schools, or special education schools across the state.

As of the start of the 2022 school year, fewer than half of Minnesota students statewide are proficient in math (44.6 percent), and just under 50 percent can’t read at grade level. On national assessments, Minnesota reading and math scores are the lowest they have been in 30 years.

Defenders of the current system will likely point to COVID as the driving reason, and while school closures certainly exacerbated learning loss, poor and declining student achievement showed itself way before the pandemic.

Failure to help students achieve rudimentary literacy and numeracy skills, despite all the dollars being spent, is unacceptable. State leaders should take a hard look at these schools and their operations, and hold them accountable, if not shut them down. That includes failing charter schools. Students being left behind deserve access to a learning environment that will meet their needs.

“In a sane world, schools that don’t and can’t teach a single student the most basic of skills would be shut down,” write Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner in their analysis of Illinois schools (which was the inspiration to look into Minnesota’s). “But here, they carry on…the system thrives while students wither.”

Update: The chart below has been updated to clarify enrollment for the grades tested, even though proficiency challenges remain in grades when students aren’t tested.

Source: Minnesota Department of Education data compiled by American Experiment