Education Reform Advisory Council convenes
Members of the South Dakota Education Reform Advisory Council met for two days in Pierre last month. Click here for a short video summary by Secretary of Education Melody Schopp.

New teacher training model being developed
A new model for teacher training at South Dakotaís public universities would involve a full year of residency in a school setting. The model recently was recommended to the South Dakota Board of Regents. Click here for more information.

2012-13 federal funds intact
The U.S. Department of Education recently issued a letter clarifying the impact of the Budget Control Actís sequestration of funds for key federal education programs. Click here to learn more.

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Benchmark assessment pilot to begin in 2012-13

A small number of districts will participate in a state-run pilot related to online benchmark assessment during the 2012-13 school year.

The purpose of the pilot is to gain practical experience, at the school, district and state levels, related to three critical areas:

1) Delivering benchmark assessments
2) Delivering assessments online
3) Assessing mastery of the Common Core standards

Districts participating in the pilot project will test students in grades 3-8 and 11 in reading and math during four testing windows: September (pre-test), December (interim), March (interim), and May (post-test). The students to be tested on the benchmark assessments will be those students who are required to take the Dakota STEP (with some exceptions). Students will still be required to take the Dakota STEP.

The benchmark assessments will be administered online via the South Dakota Assessment Portal (SDAP). All of the items that make up the tests will be aligned to the Common Core standards.

The experiences of the pilot districts will be used to prepare districts across the state for the assessment challenges and opportunities coming in 2014-15.

For more information, contact Gay Pickner at the South Dakota Department of Education, (605) 773-3247.