Students score above average, demonstrate improvement

Students score above average, demonstrate improvement South Dakota students scored above the national average and showed consistent improvement on the Stanford 10 Abbreviated Achievement Test.

The test is part of the state's new Dakota STEP assessment, established to meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.

"This test is just one measure of student success in South Dakota," said Dr. Rick Melmer, secretary of the Department of Education, "and we are excited by the results. We're optimistic that it's an indicator of good things to come with our No Child Left Behind efforts."

Approximately 73,000 students in grades three through eight and 11 took the Stanford 10 AB, which compares South Dakota students to a national norm. Scores in every area � reading, math, language arts, science and social science � improved or remained the same at every grade level, compared to 2003.

The largest gains came in the lower grades, with the youngest students � grade three � moving up 8 percentile points in overall rank. Grade four increased its rank by 4 percentile points.

"We're pleased to see consistent improvement in all subject areas and in all grades," Melmer said. "We think it demonstrates the commitment of South Dakota's schools, administrators and teachers to focus more on preparing students in the basic content areas."

While the Stanford AB 10 test is not used to determine state accountability for NCLB, Melmer explained, it does provide a snapshot of student progress.

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