Assessments show math, reading scores plummeted in Minnesota schools during pandemic

NEW HOPE, Minn. – Minnesota statewide assessments for reading and math at K-12 public schools are in, and the news is not good.

Individual school assessments are available on the Minnesota Department Education’s website. WCCO randomly chose Meadow Lake Elementary in New Hope.

The school saw the percentage of students meeting state standards in math fall from 44 percent in 2019 to 20 percent in 2022. In reading, they fell from 48 percent to 33 percent. We talked to parents and grandparents about the findings.

“I think with the COVID and learning from home, I think a lot of kids were having problems,” said parent John Pruse.

“I’m not surprised with everything that’s gone down,” said grandparent Mark Dekovic. “I’m surprised at how far they’ve gone down.”



State Republicans are blaming Gov. Tim Walz’s pandemic closings. Sen. Roger Chamberlain, the Minnesota State Senate’s education chair, released a statement saying, “Pandemic distance-learning was incredibly detrimental to kids’ academic and mental health.”

Dr. Heather Mueller is commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education.

“I think there are pieces of this that are absolutely attributable to the pandemic, and I think that there are also students who were experiencing academic struggles as well as mental health struggles prior to the pandemic,” Mueller said.

Six schools around the state had such low scores they will get special help. Mueller says individual students in any district can also get help.

There is a bit of good news here. The reports say at many schools, an overwhelming majority of parents answered they either agree or strongly agree that teachers care for their students. At Meadow Lake Elementary, that number was at 89 percent.

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