State Legislative Auditor releases findings, recommendations for standardized student testing

The Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor released its evaluation report Monday regarding standardized student testing.

“We look forward to a deeper dive into the report in the education committees in the next few weeks,” said Denise Dittrich, MSBA’s Associate Director of Government Relations.

The House Education Innovation Policy Committee is scheduled to hear a presentation regarding the evaluation report 8:15 a.m. Thursday, March 16, at the State Office Building (Room 10) in St. Paul.

Among the report’s finding:

  • The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has effectively managed its outside testing vendors.
  • Federal legislation passed in 2015 altered some testing requirements, but left others unchanged.
  • Overall, MDE has appropriately selected and monitored its outside testing vendors.
  • Administering statewide tests creates challenges for school districts and charter schools.
  • More than half of principals and teachers responding to a survey felt unprepared to interpret key test score data.
  • Many local administrators and teachers do not feel confident interpreting test score data.
  • Many principals and teachers prefer locally adopted tests to Minnesota’s statewide tests.
  • Some legislative requirements intended to improve testing have had unintended consequences.
  • Some standardized testing laws have lengthened tests and required MDE to report scores that have a high level of uncertainty.

The Legislative Auditor’s key recommendations include:

  • MDE should gather information from school districts and charter schools on the local costs and impacts of administering state-mandated tests, and use these data to inform policy decisions.
  • MDE should further increase outreach and support to school districts and charter schools regarding the interpretation and use of test scores.
  • The Legislature should remove or reexamine certain legal requirements that prescribe specific test designs or reporting formats, and instead focus on setting priorities for tests overall.

Visit to access links to a summary report and the full report.


About mnmsba

The Minnesota School Boards Association, a leading advocate for public education, supports, promotes and strengthens the work of public school boards.
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