New on our YouTube channel
Deputy Secretary Mary Stadick Smith gives a brief synopsis of Governor Dennis Daugaardís proposals for education funding in FY14.

South Dakota represented on Nutrition Associationís National Board of Directors
South Dakota now has representation on the School Nutrition Associationís National Board of Directors. Brandon Valley School District Food Services Director Gay Anderson was voted in as the boardís Education Committee Chair during SNAís 2012 elections. For more information, visit the School Nutrition Association website.

Rapid City teacher presented with $25,000 Milken Award
Congratulations to Alayna Siemonsma! The fourth-grade teacher and literacy leader at South Park Elementary School in Rapid City received the surprise of a lifetime last month when she was presented with a Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award. The award, which comes with an unrestricted cash prize of $25,000, was bestowed upon her during a school assembly.

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NAEP releases new reading vocabulary results

For the first time ever, the National Assessment of Educational Progress issued a separate report on student vocabulary. The report, which was released earlier this month, analyzed results from the 2009 and 2011 NAEP reading test.

Following the 2009 Reading Framework, vocabulary items were developed about the meaning of words as they were used in the context of passages that students read. Results were reported in scale scores and percentiles. Since the results are a subscale of the reading scores, no achievement levels were established for vocabulary.

South Dakotaís Grade 4 and Grade 12 scores were not significantly different from the nationís scores at those levels; however, South Dakotaís Grade 8 score was slightly higher than the national average.

While there is no significant gender gap for vocabulary, the gap between American Indian students and other South Dakota students is still present. American Indian students who scored in the 90th percentile amongst their own ethnicity still would only fall around the 65th percentile amongst their Caucasian counterparts.

Data provided through the vocabulary results has the potential to guide South Dakota teachers as they continue the shift to the Common Core State Standards in English language arts. Vocabulary is a key piece of Craft and Structure, which asks students to interpret words and phrases as they are used in text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

Click here to view the report in its entirety, including select test questions.