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New State Accountability System

At the end of last month, the Minnesota Department of Education released results of the state’s new accountability system, the North Star. The new system, which replaces the MMR (Minnesota’s waiver to No Child Left Behind), aims to create more equitable and well-rounded learning opportunities for all students.


The North Star is made up of five key indicators: achievement and progress on state reading and math tests over time, progress toward English language proficiency, graduation rates and consistent attendance. The new indicators align with requirements of the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which requires that all states look beyond test data and look at the overall quality of education at a school instead. ESSA replaces No Child Left Behind.


"We gladly welcome an accountability system that isn’t 100 percent based on test scores,” said David Bernard, Big Lake Schools teaching and learning director. “We hope the new system provides a more holistic account of how our schools are performing.”


Along with providing data for each indicator, the North Star identifies schools needing support and recognizes schools for success.


Big Lake Schools had one school, Independence Elementary, recognized for success. The school placed in the top five percent of all schools for progress in reading in the multiracial subgroup. The district did not have any schools identified as needing support. Overall, Big Lake Schools’ data shows its schools are performing above the state average in all five indicators.


To view Big Lake Schools’ North Star data, visit the Minnesota Report Card on the Minnesota Department of Education’s website.