Test data for the 2020-2021 school year is available, allowing Yankton School District (YSD) to set a new benchmark for student performance following the school’s closure in 2020.
The School Achievement Index (SPI), also known as the “Report Card,” is based on several indicators that include student scores on the required annual math and ELA assessment for the state of South Dakota, which was not given in 2020, due to the pandemic.
Testing resumed in 2021 and the scores were presented to the Yankton School Board at its November meeting.
State-required tests are administered to students in grades 3-8 and 11 for English and 5-8 and 11 for math.
According to the report submitted to the school board, the overall performance of YSD students on English tests for the 2020-2021 school year was 60%, compared to the South Dakota state average of 50%. Science grades are not yet available.
Other grades plus or minus previous grades from the 2018-2019 school year include:
â¢ ELA performance of Beadle elementary school 57% (+ 5%), performance in mathematics 52% (+ 3%), attendance 98%;
â¢ Lincoln Elementary School ELA performance 59% (-1%), math performance 53% (+ 2%), attendance 97%;
â¢ ELA performance of Stewart Elementary School 53% (-14%), mathematics performance 55% (-5%), attendance 97%;
â¢ Webster Elementary School 40% ELA performance (no change), math performance 32% (no change), attendance 97%;
â¢ ELA performance of Yankton Middle School 60% (-5%), mathematics performance 53% (-3%), attendance 96%);
â¢ Yankton High School ELA performance 75% (+ 7%), math performance 42% (-10%), graduation on time (97%), high school graduation (97%);
â¢ The average ACT scores for YSD are 23 (no change), the state average is 22;
â¢ Course preparation for YSD is 69% (+ 26%), the state average is 82%;
â¢ Assessment readiness for DDJ is 76% (-5%), state average is 63%;
â¢ University and career preparation for YSD is 48% (+ 14%), the state average is 57%.
Indicators of academic progress for elementary and secondary students, including English Language Arts (ELA) for all students, math for all students, and ELA and the lowest quartile in math, have failed. not reported.
âThe newsletter we’re talking about right now is the news from last year,â Nicole Valnes, YSD program director, told Press & Dakotan. “Here we report in October, November on the last school year, but it includes information even on the previous school year.”
She noted that data delivery has also been delayed and some information has yet to be released.
“Our newsletter usually comes out at the end of September,” Yankton High School (YHS) principal Todd Dvoracek told Press & Dakotan. “But this year the processing of the notes took longer and the SPI report came out at the end of October.”
Before the newsletter becomes public, school districts can verify the accuracy of the data and submit comments, Valnes said.
âWe also still have a lot of missing pieces,â she said. âWhen we presented at the November school board meeting, on the public side of the report cards, the information on English learners (ELL) is not yet reported, as well as information on science assessment. “
One notable piece of information that is still missing is data from the 2020 tests, making it difficult to assess student progress and growth.
Due to the COVID school closure, the U.S. Department of Education approved a waiver of required South Dakota assessments, so no state assessment was given at the end of the school year 2019-2020.
âWe had information on the 2018-2019 school year,â said Dvoracek. âThen we had a year where we couldn’t get any test data. “
YSD is using the 2021 report card as a benchmark to identify areas of growth and interest for future education, ahead of next year’s fall test scores report, he said.
âWe’ve done a great job in the district using our District Assessment (Northwest Evaluation Association – NWEA, given three times per school year) to monitor this and compare it to our state numbers,â Dvoracek said. âHave we seen students lose their learning? I would say, not necessarily, but we have different things that we are looking at. I think the most important thing is that we focus on where these individual students are and make sure they get from point A to point B and within a respectable amount of time and then conduct our teaching there. .
State scores can also help teachers and administrators identify areas to focus on and possibly make curriculum adjustments if needed, Valnes said.
âOne thing that I really look at with teachers when we look at state assessment is what it shows us about our curriculum, our resources, our classroom structures, our school district structure? ” she said. âDo we have common areas of achievement that are underperforming, that are performing very well, and how does that reflect on the choices we make as a district? “
Overall, district administrators are happy with the recent scores, Dvoracek said.
âWe want to continue to increase these scores,â he said. âWe want to continue to increase this academic performance and continue to increase and monitor student growth. “