South Dakota has joined at least 39 other states in adopting the Common Core State Standards. The South Dakota Board of Education voted to adopt the standards for English language arts and math at a meeting Nov. 29.
Initiated by the Council of Chief State School Officers and National Governors Association, the Common Core Standards were designed to provide a clear set of shared goals and expectations for what knowledge and skills will help students succeed.
“A fraction is a fraction, whether you’re in South Dakota or South Carolina,” said South Dakota’s Secretary of Education Tom Oster. “The Common Core is about ensuring quality and consistency across our education system.”
Becky Nelson, a standards expert with the South Dakota Department of Education, told board members that a thorough review of the Common Core standards for English language arts indicated that they align closely with South Dakota’s current standards in that area.
She also noted that the Common Core will be more rigorous than the state’s current math standards, but that they align better with the math standards the state was in the process of developing when the Common Core initiative was first announced.
While the board voted to adopt the Common Core, assessment of those standards is several years away. In the meantime, the department is encouraging districts to begin the process of implementation.
“Students will only be better prepared for further education and careers if districts begin implementing now,” Nelson said. The department plans to provide initial guidance and professional development on the new standards yet this school year.
South Dakota is part of a multi-state consortium pursuing a common assessment. By pooling resources, states are expected to save on their annual assessment costs.
Board members voted 9 to 0 in favor of adopting the Common Core in English language arts and math.