New Director of Assessment and Accountability on board
The Department of Education is excited to welcome its newest division director to the table. Abby Javurek-Humig took over the helm as Director of the Division of Assessment and Accountability last month. Javurek-Humig is a Pierre native, moving back to South Dakota from New Mexico, where she worked in postsecondary education.




Three South Dakota elementaries earn Blue Ribbon status
Congratulations to Groton Area Elementary, Parker Elementary and Wall Elementary! Those three schools recently earned Blue Ribbon status under a U.S. Department of Education program.
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Benchmark Assessment Pilot underway; first round of testing complete

The state’s Benchmark Assessment Pilot is underway, and the first assessment has already been administered. Students in selected districts took part in the pretest Sept. 4-14.

The benchmark assessments administered through this pilot are delivered in reading and mathematics at grades 3-8 and 11. The assessments are administered completely online and assess mastery of items aligned to the Common Core.

“The great thing about online assessment is that teachers have access to data immediately and can use it to figure out where the holes are and where we can get stronger,” said assessment specialist Gay Pickner. “We are also doing the same analysis at the state level with aggregated data.”

Results may be different from one district to another, Pickner said, and the feedback can help teachers tailor their instruction throughout the year.

There will be another test administered in December, followed by one in March. Those two assessments are currently being referred to as interim assessments. The posttest will take place at the end of the year.

After each test, the state’s assessment team will meet with individual districts to discuss their results and any strategies for improvement. The state is also tracking bandwidth usage during testing times and related technology issues.

The pilot districts are: Beresford, Arlington, Bennett County, Dakota Valley, Leola, Deuel, Flandreau, Hill City, Haakon, Corsica, Harding County, Avon, Wall, Lennox, Sioux Valley, Pierre, Brookings, Stanley County, White Lake, Tri-Valley and Sioux Falls.

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