Improving Quality of Life

Quality of life can be improved when all North Dakota students graduate from high school college- and career-ready.

High-quality education is essential to prepare students for an increasingly competitive, complex, and global economy. Quality education is a multifaceted concept which includes quality learners (healthy, well-nourished children with positive early life experiences and interactions who live in supportive families and communities); quality environments (healthy and safe environments that provide adequate resources and facilities); quality educational content (relevant curricula and materials for the acquisition of basic skills, especially in the areas of literacy and numeracy); quality processes (meaningful learning experiences that facilitate learning and reduce disparities); quality outcomes (knowledge, skills and attitude outcomes linked to state and national goals for education and positive participation in society), and the interdependence among them. Academic achievement in reading and math represent key educational outcomes. It is important to monitor progress in narrowing the gaps and improving results of education. In addition to achievement indicators, high school graduation can be useful in predicting young adults’ preparation for higher education and/or the workforce.

What's happening

  • Despite slight fluctuations between 2015 and 2019, the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards in 3rd grade English Language Arts/Literacy remained the same in 2019 as in 2015, at 48.0 percent.
  • Racial and income gaps continue to exist in academic achievement in North Dakota. In 2019, 52.0 percent of White North Dakota 3rd graders met or exceeded the 3rd grade English Language Art (ELA) standards. The achievement rate for the Asian population was slightly higher than the White population at 54.0 percent, while the Native American population experienced a 26.0 percent achievement rate, the Black population 34.0 percent and the Hispanic population 37.0 percent.
  • In 2019, there was a 20.0 percentage point gap between 3rd grade ELA achievement scores of high- and low-income students (55.0% and 35.0%, respectively).
  • In Middle School, in 2019, the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards in 8th grade Math increased from 36.0 percent in 2015 to 47.0 percent in 2019. Among them, 54.0 percent of Asian 8th grade students and 53.0 percent of White students met or exceeded Math standards, compared to 22.0 percent of Black students, 27.0 percent of Hispanic students, and 23.0 percent of American Indian students. The percentage of 8th grade students with high incomes achieving Math standards was almost double than the percentage of low-income students achieving Math standards (56.0% and 29.0%, respectively).
  • Overall, North Dakota in the 2019-2020 school year, experienced an on-time graduation rate of 89.0 percent. When looking at the breakdowns, gaps of on-time graduation rates exist. White students had a graduation rate of 92.2 percent, while Native American students had a rate of 72.7percent. Among special populations, 69.6 percent of students with disabilities and 83.3 percent of students with limited English proficiency graduated on time.

Making connections

The Education topic presents only a part of the Cradle-to-Career continuum which is represented by key measures throughout the website.
Preschool enrollment (Early childhood)
Connections to adults (Children and Youth)
Postsecondary degree completion (Workforce)
Educational Attainment (Workforce)
Proportion of Adults Working (Workforce)
Building a pathway to success begins early in life, and must provide opportunities for all children and youth. Quality educational experiences and opportunities (e.g., mother and babies’ health, preschool enrollment, connection to caring adults) produce positive outcomes that compound throughout an individual’s life as they enter into the workforce and start contributing to the economy and community.
After high school, many young adults continue on with their education and achieve a postsecondary degree, which is one key to a vibrant and successful workforce.
Having well-educated residents in our state helps to strengthen the economy and workforce and increases civic engagement.


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North Dakota Compass

Center for Social Research
North Dakota State University

Compass created by:
Wilder Research

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