The South Dakota Department of Education released its annual report card in November 2018. While the stats are helpful, there has been some confusion, particularly around the District’s College and Career Readiness score. This year the state revamped the methodology of how they analyzed district data.
Here’s what district leaders want you to know:
MATH – We saw a slight drop in our math scores. This is a target improvement area for the district. District leaders are confident that with our new STEAM2 programming, being piloted this year, we will begin to see an improvement in scores. Still, there are plans to take a close look at the district’s math curriculum and level of implementation. RCAS math and ELA scores at the high school level are five percent higher than the state average.
ELA – Our ELA scores stayed consistent with our scores last year. Last school year, new reading curriculum was chosen. This year, it is being implemented district-wide. District leaders are encouraged by what they see so far. While overall ELA scores remained flat, RCAS 3rd grade reading scores have increased over the past couple of years – this past year by almost two percent.
COLLEGE AND CAREER READINESS – The report shows that 32 percent of RCAS students are prepared for college and career. It is critical to note that those scores are not based on student performance, but rather the number and variety of career and technology classes offered in our schools. To earn high marks, the state requires that students complete two courses in the same career or technical cluster. If a student chooses to take a class in a different cluster- for example one in Childcare Development and another in Tech Ed – then the district doesn’t earn points.
Our High School Pathways Task Force is developing plans to address this by providing students with more in-depth exploration and experience in a pathway career area. Our goal through the pathways work is to ensure that every high school student takes a series of classes in the same cluster that lead to college and career readiness in their chosen career field.
GRADUATION – Graduation rates continue to be an area of focus for our district, however, in looking into our results further, it appears that the state results released in the report card are not accurate. District administrators are working with key people in the state department to ensure that RCAS graduation rates are accurately reported.