S.D. Board of Education approves standards

S.D. Board of Education approves standards The South Dakota Board of Education has designated an essential core of the South Dakota Content Standards in Math and Reading that every student in grades three through eight and grade 11 will be tested on next spring.

The core standards state what every child should know and be able to do by the end of each grade.

The core standards will be targeted during the development of South Dakota-specific test questions that will be used to augment the nationally-normed SAT-10 standardized test for use in South Dakota's schools next spring. Students' achievement of the essential core of reading and math content standards will be assessed and reported when they take the spring tests in 2003.

The additional test questions are designed to ensure that South Dakota students are learning the content specified in South Dakota's content standards; the nationally-normed SAT-10 test assesses a broader range of content that is commonly taught at each grade level throughout the nation.

"The core standards state what we as South Dakotans believe is absolutely essential for each student to know and be able to do at each grade. It is impossible to assess our students' achievement of all the content standards; time does not permit that. So it was necessary for the board to identify a sub-set of the reading and mathematics standards that is the essential core we believe every student must master in order to function in life," said South Dakota Board of Education President Glenna Fouberg, Aberdeen. "It is important to understand, however, that we haven't changed South Dakota's content standards � we have prioritized a core of essential standards from within the total set of content standards."

Fouberg notes that targeting an essential core of standards will ensure that the assessment is rigorous, and that students are challenged and taught the essential skills and concepts in each grade.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the new federal No Child Left Behind law, identification of the essential core content standards will also make it easier for teachers to focus their teaching and curriculum.

Rather than trying to cover over 100 standards each in reading and math, teachers will now be able to target classroom instruction and time towards the essential core standards in reading and math, ensuring that all students have an opportunity to learn essential content and skills and will be well prepared for the annual spring assessment.

Two committees of 35 South Dakota teachers each � one for math and one for reading � reviewed the total set of the state's reading and math content standards. They then determined which of the standards are most essential for students to accomplish during each grade.

The committees' recommendations were forwarded to the South Dakota Board of Education. Committee members were recommended to the Department of Education and Cultural Affairs by their schools.

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