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• American Education Week is Nov. 13-19. Plan now to celebrate public education in your district.
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• South Dakota has become a “Governing State” in the SMARTER Balanced Consortium. The collection of about 30 states is developing next-generation assessments aligned to the Common Core.
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• Teachers of the Year from across the state will be honored at a banquet during the Systems Change Conference. The 2012 SD Teacher of the Year will be announced that night.
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Technology literacy assessment no longer required;
Districts must still prove student proficiency

The state will no longer require public school districts to test 8th grade students to prove proficiency in technology. This change will take effect beginning with the current school year. However, because the state Department of Education is still required to report the number of 8th grade students proficient in technology, public school districts still need to determine proficiency at the local level and report it to the state.

The department is working on a list of possible items that could be used to determine proficiency. These options might include: passing grade in a technology course completed before 8th grade; teacher completion of an observable checklist; district-created end-of-course exam; content-based project that incorporates technology; or an online assessment similar to the one currently used.

Schools that would like to continue with an online assessment to measure technology proficiency have the option of working directly with the current vendor, Learning.com, or another vendor. Districts interested in retrieving local test results from Learning.com should do so prior to Oct. 28, 2011, before the state contract ends.

“At the state level, we want to stay focused on making sure that our efforts add value to the education process,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Melody Schopp. “The technology assessment is one of those pieces that meets federal requirements but is not typically used by schools to inform instruction. We believe there are better ways to meet this federal requirement without the burden of another assessment.”

Questions regarding this issue can be directed to Gay Pickner, the state’s assessment director, at (605) 773-3247 or gay.pickner@state.sd.us