Students arrive at Patrick Henry Middle School in Sioux Falls on Oct. 25, 2022. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)
South Dakota students have lost ground in math and reading since 2019, according to the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), but outperformed students in many other states.
The NAEP is billed as the nation’s report card by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. The 2022 report, released Monday, offered test results for fourth- and eighth-graders nationwide in each subject.
When compared to pre-pandemic scores from 2019, test scores dropped in every region of the U.S.
Scores for both grade levels in South Dakota dropped less than the national average. But scores in South Dakota were far closer to those in neighboring states, and students from some of those states outperformed their South Dakota counterparts.
While I’m glad to see that our students have held their own compared to other states, South Dakota has room for improvement.
– Tiffany Sanderson, South Dakota education secretary
Math scores for fourth-graders in Nebraska and Iowa were statistically on par with 2019 scores, for example, while students in South Dakota and other bordering states fell behind. For eighth grade, students in Iowa, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana and Wyoming all had lower math scores, with Nebraska and Wyoming students losing the least ground.
On the reading side, fourth graders in Iowa, Wyoming and Montana scored at 2019 levels. Students in North and South Dakota lost four points compared to 2019; Minnesota students lost seven.
Eighth grade reading scores didn’t drop significantly in South Dakota, Minnesota or Iowa between 2019 and 2022, but did fall in the other neighboring states.
Overall, South Dakota students fared better than the national average, with higher scores and lower drops in performance.
In a press release, South Dakota Secretary of Education Tiffany Sanderson described the results as one of several metrics used to measure success.
“While I’m glad to see that our students have held their own compared to other states, South Dakota has room for improvement,” Sanderson said in the release. “Our scores have slipped over time, and we need to ensure our students are receiving the best instruction and learning opportunities available.”
The release also noted that the DOE has been crafting “a statewide literacy initiative that will focus on research-based strategies for teaching students how to read, write, speak, and listen” in response to the learning losses tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The full report card is available at this link.
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