Administrators - what you need to know about SD STARS implementation

Common Core info available
The Department of Education has created a fact sheet to help the general public in understanding the Common Core. More materials are being created and will be disseminated to schools in the coming months, however administrators can access this material as a resource when visiting with parents and other community members.


Lake Area Tech again an Aspen finalist
For the second year in a row, Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown has been recognized as one of the top four two-year colleges in the country by the Aspen Institute.
>>>> LEARN MORE.


South Dakota Virtual School registration now open
Registration for the 2013-14 School Year is now open on the South Dakota Virtual School. A number of new courses have been added this past year, including several dual credit options. Many of the courses give students additional advanced CTE options, which can be particularly beneficial to smaller districts.

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Smarter Balanced moving forward

The Governing States of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium approved achievement level descriptors (ALDs) and established an affiliation with the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) at the University of California, Los Angeles to begin after the conclusion of the federal grant in 2014.

At a March conference in Arlington, Va., state education chiefs met in a public session and approved initial achievement level descriptors—which distinguish among the levels of student performance in English language arts/literacy and mathematics on the Smarter Balanced assessments. Governing States agreed to continue discussions within their states of a college content-readiness policy, which describes how scores on the high school assessment can be used by colleges and universities.

Adoption of the initial ALDs is part of an extensive collaboration between K-12 education agencies and institutions of higher education. The development of the initial ALDs began in October 2012 with collaboration among K-12 teachers and administrators and higher education faculty from two- and four-year colleges and universities representing Smarter Balanced Governing States. A six-month review process engaged a broad array of K-12 teachers, higher education faculty, content experts, and education partners through two rounds of public comment in November and February.

The approved initial ALDs are based upon four levels of achievement that describe the level of rigor students have demonstrated: “thorough understanding,” “adequate understanding,” “partial understanding,” or “minimal understanding” of knowledge, skills, and processes for the two assessed Common Core content areas of English language arts/literacy and mathematics. Smarter Balanced is developing an integrated suite of ALDs that serve different purposes for item writing, standard-setting, and reporting results. Reporting ALDs—which will provide guidance to students and parents about how to interpret performance on the assessments—will be developed following standard setting in 2014. Click here to access the complete English language arts/literacy and mathematics initial ALDs.

The third Smarter Balanced Collaboration Conference brought together representatives from the consortium’s 25 members—including state education chiefs, K-12 state leads, higher education leads, work group members, and contractors—to facilitate coordination on the design and implementation of the next-generation assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards. In accordance with the consortium’s state-led governance structure, the 21 Smarter Balanced Governing States each have a vote on major policy decisions through their chief state school officer or delegate. The next Smarter Balanced Collaboration Conference will be held in September.