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For Immediate Release: March 29, 2007
Contact: Mary Stadick Smith - (605) 773-7228

Schools get A grade for technology

South Dakota was one of three states to receive an A grade on Education Week’s 2007 Technology Counts report, released earlier today.

“South Dakota’s leadership in the technology area started with the wiring of the schools nearly a decade ago, and it continues today with efforts like the South Dakota Classroom Connections laptop project and the new Virtual High School,” said Secretary of Education Rick Melmer.

The report grades states based on 14 indicators in three major areas: access to instructional technology, use of technology, and capacity to effectively use educational technology.

•Access to technology. While the rest of the nation’s schools average 3.7 students per high-speed Internet-connected computer, South Dakota averages 1.9 students. South Dakota scored an A in this category, while the average state score was C.

•Use of technology. South Dakota passed three of the four litmus tests in this category. The state is in the process of developing technology standards. The state has established a virtual school, and it offers computer-based assessments. The state does not test students on technology concepts. South Dakota scored an A- in this category, while the average state score was a C+.

•Capacity to use technology. This category encompasses standards and requirements related to the certification of teachers and administrators. South Dakota scored a B in this category, while the average state score was a C.

South Dakota’s overall grade on the report was A-. The average state score was C+.

“Some might expect South Dakota’s rural nature to put us behind in terms of technology,” Melmer said. “In fact, it has made us even more focused on the need to give our young people access to technology, so they can compete on an even playing field with students around the world.”

To view the 2007 Technology Counts report, go to