Minnesota’s Graduation Rates: Steady Course in 2023 Post-pandemic Surge


Minnesota’s four-year graduation rate fell somewhat this year, with approximately 83.3% of high school students receiving their degrees on time, moderating a resurgence observed the previous year, when graduation rates returned to levels comparable to those before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minnesota Department of Education says the modest reduction is due in part to recording errors, particularly when students switch schools. This finding “re-emphasizes the need for schools to keep track of — and report on — every single student during their high school career,” the state Education Department stated in a news release announcing the graduation rates this week.

Graduation rates for Black, Asian, and Latino students, as well as English language learners, have decreased slightly, according to the data. In 2022, the graduation rate for Black pupils reached an all-time high of 73.5%. Though it dropped to 72.1% in 2023, it still reflects an increased trend over the previous five years as the state attempted to close the accomplishment gap.

The graduation rate for white students and those identifying as two or more races rose in 2023, while the rate for American Indian students and students requiring special education stayed relatively stable from the previous year.

“High school graduation is a crucial milestone for every student in our schools; it’s essential for individual success and the well-being of our communities,” Education Commissioner Willie Jett stated in a news release. He cited recent initiatives in literacy, student mental health, and student assistance as examples of how the state is working to enhance graduation rates.

Graduation rates are “an important indicator of the success of our education system,” said Michael Rodriguez, dean of the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development.

According to the 2022 Minnesota Student Survey, most students want to graduate. According to the poll, only 1% of the state’s pupils in grades eight, nine, and eleven do not aim to graduate from high school.

“The hard reality is that not all students are supported at the same level to meet those requirements,” Rodriguez went on to say.

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