math student

Students enter 9th grade proficient in math.

Basic math skills are indispensable throughout life. 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. Algebra I has been described as a "gateway" to a bachelor’s degree. (Pre-algebra and Algebra Enrollment and Achievement, Annenberg Institute for School Reform 2010) In today's world, math skills are essential in many careers, particularly those in highly technical fields such as STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

We also know that students who have fallen furthest behind by 8th grade are the ones who are most likely to continue to fall behind two years later. (Changes in Math Proficiency Between 8th and 10th Grades, National Center for Education Statistics 1994)


  • The South Dakota Counts program is designed to build broad-based expertise and leadership for improving math instruction in grades 4-8. The program provides teachers an opportunity to deepen their content knowledge, improve instructional practices and develop data-use skills to support student learning.

  • The Department of Education provides schools with tools and resources for math curriculum alignment and review.


For additional information, contact the South Dakota Department of Education
at (605) 773-3134.