Data Supports for School Improvement and Accountability in Minnesota

Project State

Project lead: Mara Schanfield (

In its Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) outlined a new strategy for school improvement that builds on current structures and emphasizes research-based practices. The Midwest Comprehensive Center is providing technical assistance to MDE on implementing strategies outlined in the state’s ESSA plan, including content expertise to improve the early warning intervention and response process—which enables schools to identify students in Grades 6 and 9 who are at increased risk of not completing high school in 4 years—and guidance on reporting formats for new data. These improvements are targeted at closing the state’s wide achievement gaps between students of color and their White peers.

What Are We Doing?
  • Serving as a thought partner and content expert on data dashboards and designs for data reporting
  • Conducting focus groups to gather feedback on the data dashboard
  • Identifying evidence-based practices for dropout prevention and student engagement
  • Working with MDE to train advocates and district staff on the early warning intervention and response process
Expected Outcomes
  • Increased knowledge, skills, and resources for those supporting districts and schools with low graduation rates
  • Increased knowledge within MDE about the strengths and weaknesses of the draft data dashboard
  • Increased access to school-level data for families
  • Increased awareness, use, and local ownership of the early warning intervention and monitoring process for school data-based decision-making
  • Increased availability of well-rounded education and career and college readiness measures for school accountability, recognition, and reporting
  • School turnaround
  • College and career readiness