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New ratings label 213 schools as underperforming

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota's Department of Education on Thursday labeled 213 Minnesota schools as underperforming in a new statewide labeling system, compared to more than 1,000 that got a similar designation under a previous federal measurement.

Minnesota developed the Multiple Measurement Ratings system after the state got a waiver from some requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Law. Under the new system, Minnesota's 2,400 public schools are judged on students' math and reading scores, plus individual academic growth, high school graduation rates and achievement gaps.

The Star Tribune reported that statewide, minority and poor students and those learning English showed better academic growth in math scores in 2012 compared to 2011. But the new ratings show that schools aren't closing the achievement gap in reading. Those schools are required to submit turnaround plans, but no longer have to provide tutoring or transfers with threat of penalty if they don't.

Advocates of the new system said it gives a much clearer picture of how Minnesota's schools are really faring.

"Some will look at this with a healthy dose of skepticism, but it's really giving educations a whole new level of data to assess students and gives them a much better idea about where to focus improvement efforts," said Brenda Cassellius, Minnesota's education commissioner.

Cassellius said she was optimistic that new incentives aimed at getting students to read well before third grade will pay off in coming years.

Department of Education school ranking data online

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.