August 11, 2005 Extra Credit
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August 11, 2005

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South Dakota Reports Gains in Student, School Achievement

The South Dakota Department of Education yesterday released its Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Report Card for the 2004-05 school year. It showed progress among every student group, including a dramatic two-year gain in reading for American Indians. The following is an excerpt from the department’s press release:

"South Dakota’s students continue to make strides in reading and math, according to the 2005 Report Card. The number of students proficient in reading reached 82 percent, compared to 77 percent last year. The number of students proficient in math grew to 74 percent, up from 71 percent in 2004.

"Further, an impressive 84 percent of schools and 98 percent of districts made adequate yearly progress for 2005, as required under No Child Left Behind.

"‘This Report Card is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of South Dakota’s educators, students and families,’ said Dr. Rick Melmer, secretary of the South Dakota Department of Education. ‘We have strong families and communities that believe in giving our young people the best opportunities, and that attitude shows through in our student achievement levels.’…

"When considering all grades tested as a whole, the 2005 Report Card shows gains in each student subgroup for which schools may be held accountable. These subgroups include ethnic groups, economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities.

"‘We are extremely pleased to see gains in each of the subgroups,’ Melmer said. The Native American subgroup, for example, has increased from 45 percent proficient in reading in 2003 – the first year of testing – to 59 percent proficient in 2005. ‘While that percentage is below where we want it to be, it demonstrates steady progress in the right direction,’ Melmer said.

"Progress also is evident in the area of school improvement. In 2005, the number of schools ‘in improvement’ is 103, down from 106 last year. ‘In improvement’ means that a school did not meet adequate yearly progress goals for two years. There are varying levels of ‘improvement,’ based on the number of years a school misses its goals.

"‘We have fewer schools in improvement than last year, which is a great situation,’ Melmer said. A number of factors likely contributed to this decrease. ‘First, our schools are focused on teaching to South Dakota’s content standards. They’re also becoming savvy at using test data and other solid research to improve their instruction.’"

The full South Dakota 2005 Report Card, including reports for individual schools, is available at


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Last Modified: 08/12/2005