• Schopp named secretary of education
• Board approves standards for teaching
• What 2011 education bills mean for your district
• Deliver technology assessment before May 13

South Dakota Library Week
April 10-16, 2011

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Students getting more writing practice
WriteToLearn numbers skyrocket during 2nd testing window

Student usage of the online literacy program WriteToLearn doubled over the course of the winter. Across the state, 34,000 students completed 259,000 essay drafts during the winter testing window, compared to 126,000 essay drafts submitted by these same students in the fall. All students in grades 5, 7 and 10 are required to submit at least one essay draft three times a year.

“The numbers tell us that teachers and students are getting a very practical use out of this tool,” said Dr. Wade Pogany, director of the Office of Assessment and Technology Systems. “Yes, WriteToLearn serves its purpose as the statewide writing assessment, but it’s also being used as a vehicle to improve student writing. And that is what is so exciting.”

The 2010-11 school year is the first year of implementation for WriteToLearn. The program is delivered completely online, and students and teachers receive immediate feedback.

“My English classes use the WriteToLearn program weekly,” said Mariella Paul, a 7th grade teacher from Hill City. Paul’s 7th graders averaged 53 drafts per student during the winter testing window. Students at Hanson High School in Alexandria use the WriteToLearn program in both their English and social studies classes on a weekly basis as well. “Since using the WriteToLearn program, I have seen improvement in most areas of the six traits of writing, especially voice, conventions, and word choice,” said Hanson high school teacher Jill Pociask.

Students are currently participating in the final testing window of the 2010-11 school year. Click here to learn more about South Dakota’s WriteToLearn program.