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August 10, 2004 Extra Credit
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August 10, 2004

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South Dakota: 79 Percent of Schools Meet State Math and Reading Standards

Student Achievement Levels Show Improvement Over 2003

The following are excerpts from an article by The Associated Press highlighting the increase in math and reading achievement levels in South Dakota during the 2003-2004 school year:

"South Dakota students made progress in the second round of testing required by a federal education improvement law, according to a report the state Education Department released Monday. Of the 66,159 public school students who took Dakota STEP tests in the spring, 71 percent were competent or advanced in math, compared to 59 percent last year; 77 percent also were capable in reading, compared to 71 percent in 2003. State goals for this year were 52 percent competency in math and 69 percent in reading."

"Rick Melmer, state education secretary, said 79 percent of public schools met their adequate [yearly] progress goals. The state report card also shows that 92.7 percent of South Dakota teachers met the highly qualified teacher requirements in the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The comparable figure from last year was 88.7 percent."

"'[W]e had 163 schools on alert only last year, which means they all had the potential of going into school improvement and many of them didn't,' Melmer said. 'Obviously, our schools are working hard to keep their students on track in math and reading.'"

"Dropped this year from the list of schools cited last year as needing improvement were Tyndall Elementary in the Bon Homme School District, Kadoka High School and Newell Middle School. Steven Heilman, superintendent of the Kadoka School District, said it required a major effort to get the high school off the list. He said the 2003 shortcoming was in the area of special education. While extra focus was placed on special education, it was important to make sure that students in all other categories also continued to meet NCLB goals, Heilman said."

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Last Modified: 03/28/2008