Counting All Students

Why does the state collect specific racial and ethnic information?

In 2016, the Minnesota Legislature passed Statutes, sections 120B.31, subdivision 3a, and 120B.35, subdivision 3, which tasked the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) with collecting a broader collection of data on Minnesota’s students. MDE is directed to create reports for districts to use in district- and school-level decisions. For the wider public, this information is used in the Minnesota Report Card. The objective behind collecting new data is to ensure all students, including students within student groups, receive a high quality education.

Why does MDE want me to provide my student’s information?

Though our implementation of Counting All Students is still underway, MDE anticipates that the information collected with all educators at the state and local levels will provide insight into our collective successes and failures of facilitating equity in our Minnesota classrooms. Each of us has a personal identity that shapes our experiences of the world, and MDE respects and celebrates every form of diversity within our Minnesota student bodies. And though Counting All Students cannot possibly account for all aspects of that rich diversity, the goals of the statute are to facilitate state- and local-level evaluations of equity in education. Once all schools are collecting and submitting more detailed demographic information, MDE will be able to provide reports for districts across the state to further affirm their commitments to inclusion, equity, and diversity in its many forms. While providing this additional information is not required by law, every family that completes this demographic form is helping MDE provide the best resources possible for our K-12 students.

An incomplete collection of data can create misleading or inconclusive reports. So we can work toward full equity among all students, we ask that all families complete the form. Because the current federally-mandated racial and ethnic categories mask differences between more detailed groups, by providing MDE with more detailed information, we are able to see meaningful differences. Your involvement in data collection is a pivotal part of achieving a fully equitable education system in Minnesota. We cannot do this without your help.

If you have questions about how the Counting All Students will affect you, please contact Counting All Students at MDE.

How is Counting All Students different from what districts already collect?

Legislation requires the Minnesota Department of Education to report graduation rates, results of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs), and detailed ethnicity for students of color and American Indian students. Data collection is also different because MDE is changing the technology used to submit and report data. This new technology is called Ed-Fi and more information about it can be found on the MDE’s Ed-Fi portion of the MDE webpage.

What do these terms mean?

Counting All Students: This is the informal name for the state laws that dictate MDE’s collection of more diverse student data. The full text is available for Minnesota Statutes, sections 120B.31, subdivision 3a and 120B.35, subdivision 3.

Ed-Fi: This is the technology system MDE uses to collect and student-level data that districts submit to their student information systems. The reasoning behind MDE’s move to Ed-Fi and the long-term data reporting goals Ed-Fi will help MDE achieve can be found on the Ed-Fi portion of the MDE webpage.

Data Disaggregation: In education, this detailed breakdown of data into smaller subsets is referred to as disaggregation. This just means that MDE has collected data from multiple sources and included multiple measures and variables, such as race, gender, school, etc.

What does this data explain?

Data is not an all-encompassing source of information regarding student learning or classroom experience. However, it can reveal trends, patterns, and success disparities.

MDE uses data to answer specific questions, such as.
  • Where do ethnic disparities exist inside racial groups when it comes to graduation rates?
  • What districts reflect student success when it comes to standardized testing?
  • What additional information is available when we provide reports and comparisons with more detail beyond the minimum federally reporting requirement?

Will this information be public?

MDE provides non-identifying data to the public to educate Minnesotans about the successes and needs of our districts, schools, and students across demographics. This information is accessible through the Minnesota Report Card and Data Reports and Analytics.

MDE provides data to legislators regarding opportunity gaps that exist in Minnesota’s early education and K-12 school systems. The goal of these data are to provide opportunities to address disparities through state-level policies and legislation.

Counting All Students Update newsletter

A great way to stay informed about the process of implementing Counting All Students is through our newsletter. The newsletter will include important updates, engagement opportunities and more. Subscribe now.

Counting All Students Update - March 6, 2020
Counting All Students Update - April 24. 2019
Counting All Students Update - January 22,2019
Counting All Students Update - November 6, 2018
Counting All Students Update - August 29, 2018

Counting All Students Update - May 31, 2018
Counting All Students Update - July 18, 2018
Counting All Students Update - July 25, 2018

Forms and FAQs

The detailed demographics collection form, parent letter, and frequently asked questions to be used for statewide implementation in 2019-20 school year are finalized.

Final translated versions of the documents for the 2019-20 statewide implementation will be posted as soon as they are available.


Translated Documents

V - Early Learning Student Raises Her Hand
More detailed reporting ensures all students are counted