What are Multiple Measurement Ratings?

Multiple Measurement Ratings, also known as MMR, represents an alternative ranking system that state officials presented to the U.S. Department of Education when they asked to opt out of the requirements of No Child Left Behind in 2011. The previous ranking system measured schools on student test scores, and labeled about half of Minnesota schools as "failing."

The system gives every school in the state two scores. The MMR score measures how the school is doing based on test scores, graduation rates, and student growth. The Focus Rating score ranks schools on how students of color are doing compared to white students.

Schools with a high percentage of low income students that get federal Title 1 funds may also receive a label based on either the MMR score or the Focus Rating:

• Those schools in the top 15 percent on the MMR score are designated "Reward" schools. State officials say they'll use these schools' strategies as models for schools around the state.

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• Those with the next 25 percent best MMR scores are "Celebration Eligible." Those schools can apply for statewide recognition as a "celebration" schools.

• Schools in the bottom 25 percent on the MMR ranking receive support from the state. Within this group, "Continuous Improvement" schools are required to develop improvement plans but don't need state approval for the plan. The schools are required to set aside 20 percent of their Title I funds to implement the plans.

• "Priority" schools are in the bottom 5 percent in MMR rankings. They're required to develop state approved improvement plans and fund them with Title I money. The schools also receive intensive help from the state, including training for teachers on data, college preparation plans for students and how to work with student test data. Some priority schools are also eligible for federal grants.

"Focus" schools make up the bottom 10 percent on the "Focus Rating" score, indicating they have struggled with gaps in tests scores between students of color and white students. Those schools must also come up with state approved improvement plans and fund them with Title I money.