Feb. 20, 2013



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Research supports DOE’s focus on student outcomes

The department has identified four key student outcomes for achieving the overall aspiration that all students should leave the K-12 system college, career and life ready. This month, we will look at some of the research behind those outcomes.

Outcome #1: All students will enter 4th grade proficient or advanced in reading.
Third grade marks a critical point in a child’s education. It’s the time when students shift from learning to read and begin reading to learn. Research tells us that students who don't read at grade level by 3rd grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma than students who are proficient readers. Poverty only compounds the problem. Children who are not reading proficiently at 3rd grade and who have lived in poverty are three times more likely to drop out or fail to graduate than those who have never been poor.

To learn more, see “Double Jeopardy: How Third Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation.”

Outcome #2: All students will enter 9th grade proficient or advanced in math.
A firm grasp of math is necessary throughout a student’s academic career, because concepts build upon one another and become increasingly complex. Research clearly indicates a correlation between taking higher-level math courses and success at the postsecondary level. One study found that students who had taken Algebra II in high school were twice as likely to earn a bachelor’s degree as those who had not.

To learn more, see “Pre-algebra and Algebra Enrollment and Achievement.”

Outcome #3: The gap for Native American students is eliminated.
In South Dakota, there is a 28-point difference between how our Native American and white students perform on the National Assessment of Educational Progress – Reading at 4th grade. The gap widens to 29 points at 8th grade. Furthermore, students living in poverty are three times more likely to drop out of high school or fail to graduate on time. And students who are poor readers and live in poverty are the hardest hit; they are six times at a greater risk to drop out than their proficient counterparts.

See Double Jeopardy report referenced above.

Outcome #4: Students graduate high school ready for postsecondary or the workforce.
Nationwide, surveys show that many high school graduates do not meet employers’ standards in a variety of academic areas, as well as in employability skills such as attendance, teamwork and collaboration, and work habits. In South Dakota, 28 percent of students who enter our public universities need to complete some sort of remedial work prior to taking college-level courses in English and math. State-level focus can connect the secondary school experience with postsecondary, both two-year and four-year institutions, as well as the world of work.

To learn more about this critical transition, see the Board of Regents’ 2011 “South Dakota High School to College Transition Report.”

For more information about the Department of Education’s aspiration and student outcome goals, click here.

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