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For Immediate Release: Jan. 12, 2012
Contact: Mary Stadick Smith - (605) 773-7228

Survey compares education indicators, ranks states

A survey released today by Education Week gives South Dakota an overall grade of D+ for indicators in five areas.

“The education package announced by the governor earlier this week addresses the indicators related to teaching and student achievement head on,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Melody Schopp.

South Dakota received a low score for Teaching Profession, an indicator that looks at incentives for teacher leadership and performance, and evaluation of teacher performance, among other things.

“Under the governor’s Investing in Teachers proposal, teachers would be rewarded for outstanding performance,” Schopp said. The state would provide funding for annual rewards of $5,000 to the top 20 percent of teachers in each district. In addition, middle and high school math and science teachers would receive bonuses of $3,500 each year. Further, the plan calls for annual evaluations and mandatory training for any administrator who evaluates teachers – both of which earn states’ points on the survey.

“It’s a huge investment in the teachers, and ultimately, the students of South Dakota,” Schopp said.

The Quality Counts Survey also gives states scores for K-12 Achievement. While South Dakota’s proficiency levels on the National Assessment of Educational Progress are above the national average in several areas, the state has not seen the growth that other states have. “Other states are passing us up, and that is concerning,” she said.

Finally, Schopp acknowledges that the state has work to do in another of the survey’s indicators, Standards and Assessment. “As a state, we’ve taken the first steps to enhancing the rigor of our standards and assessment system by adopting the Common Core standards in English and math,” Schopp said. “The implementation of these new standards represents a real change in how we need to teach our students, and that’s why the training and incentives the governor has proposed are so important.”

South Dakota is a member of a multi-state consortium developing a new assessment system based on the Common Core standards. The state’s current assessment includes only multiple choice questions. The new test will go beyond multiple choice and will require students to demonstrate mastery of concepts.

To learn more about Investing in Teachers, visit To learn more about Education Week’s 2012 Quality Counts survey, visit