Students enter 9th grade proficient or advanced in math.
Basic math skills are indispensable throughout life. A firm grasp of math is necessary throughout a student’s academic career, because concepts build upon one another and become increasingly complex.
Research clearly indicates a correlation between taking higher-level math courses and success at the postsecondary level. One study found that students who had taken Algebra II in high school were twice as likely to earn a bachelor's degree as those who had not. Algebra I has been described as a "gateway" to a bachelor’s degree. (Pre-algebra and Algebra Enrollment and Achievement, Annenberg Institute for School Reform 2011) In today's world, math skills are essential in many careers, particularly those in highly technical fields such as STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
We also know that students who have fallen furthest behind by 8th grade are the ones who are most likely to continue to fall behind two years later. (Changes in Math Proficiency Between 8th and 10th Grades, National Center for Education Statistics 1994)
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
Implementing new Common Core math standards
• The new Common Core standards in math offer a progression of learning that deepens a student’s ability to understand and use mathematics in practical applications.
• Standards focus on critical elements for future learning, giving students more time to develop the fluency and understanding needed to master concepts, as well as practical application.
Providing training to teachers on standards and instructional practices
• By providing the training teachers need and enhancing their instructional practices, South Dakota teachers are better prepared to facilitate the deeper learning required in a 21st century learning experience.
Expanding South Dakota Counts
• South Dakota Counts is professional development program designed to deepen teachers’ knowledge base regarding math content, effective math instruction, and how students think about math.
Expanding assessments tools to monitor student progress
• Formative measurement of student progress allows for immediate and targeted feedback to teachers.
• The Department of Education is building its online assessment portal, so that teachers have access to rich and meaningful assessment items.
• This feedback in turn can be used to create customized learning opportunities for every student that immediately meet his or her needs.
For additional information, contact the South Dakota Department of Education
at (605) 773-3134.