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SD Department of Education June 2015  
Board of Education adopts new content standards, discusses math Praxis exam

The state Board of Education met May 18 in Aberdeen. Here are highlights from that meeting.

• Following a final public hearing, the board approved new academic content standards for fine arts, K-12 educational technology and science. Click here to access the South Dakota Department of Education’s standards webpage and look for the appropriate links with the date of May 18, 2015. Information about roll-out and training related to the science standards will be forthcoming. The process will be gradual, with testing of new standards not occurring for several years.

• The board had a discussion regarding the math Praxis exam and issues related to certain types of teachers not passing the exam. The required math Praxis exam, which numerous states use, encompasses higher-level math concepts, including some from trigonometry and calculus. For middle school teachers teaching Algebra I or special education teachers at the high school level, mastery of these higher-level concepts typically is not necessary.

Thus, a proposed rule change would pave the way for a new kind of math endorsement. Under the proposed rule change, teachers in these situations would be able to earn a separate endorsement and would take a Praxis exam more appropriate to the type of math they would be teaching. All of the proposed rule changes that went through first reading are located here (see Agenda Item 12.0; math endorsement rule changes are on pages 7-10).

• The board also approved changes to the state’s accountability system. These changes will bring the rules in line with the state’s revised ESEA Flexibility Waiver and are those that have been discussed for several months (eg., not including teacher/principal effectiveness in the School Performance Index; changing the attendance calculation, etc.) Click here to access.

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