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Dakota STEP:
Tips for successful test administration

This year’s Dakota STEP testing begins April 4 and ends April 22. Districts should have already received their testing materials from Pearson. As usual, all testing must be completed within the established test window. Please review the reminders below to ensure a smooth testing process.

1. Access to “viewing” the Dakota STEP is limited to those necessary for accommodation purposes only.

2. Anyone who will administer the Dakota STEP must be trained before the test is given.

3. Anyone coming in contact with the Dakota STEP must sign the Testing Security Agreement.

4. Student can write in their test booklet using a pencil only. No markers, highlighters, etc.

5. Remove anything on walls that a reasonable person would conclude offers students in that room an unfair advantage over other students.

6. Approved calculators and rulers can be used on all parts of the Dakota STEP. Check the Testing Coordinator’s Handbook (TCH) for the approved list.

7. Once directions have been administered and students have begun taking the assessment, absolutely NO assistance may be given to student.

8. Testing coordinators or administrators are the only ones who can check over the students’ answer documents.

9. It is strongly recommended that administrators observe at least 10 percent of all classrooms during the administration of the Dakota STEP assessment

Throughout the testing window, Department of Education staff will visit various districts across the state. Staff will contact the district’s testing coordinator at least 48 hours in advance to discuss this visit. If possible, department staff would like to visit with teachers and administrators in the districts they visit.

As in previous years, students in grades 3-8 and 11 will be tested in reading and math. Their scores are counted toward annual adequate yearly progress goals. Science is tested in grades 5, 8 and 11, and only participation is counted toward AYP.

Administration of the Dakota STEP-A, which is available for students who have a significant cognitive disability, continues until March 18, 2011.

Questions regarding administration of the Dakota STEP should be directed to Gay Pickner, Department of Education, at (605) 773-3247 or