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South Dakota Public School Accountability

South Dakota’s accountability system was implemented at the start of the 2012-13 school year. The model takes a thoughtful, objective, and balanced approach to defining the indicators of a strong education system, and encompasses a variety of data points that school leaders can use to inform decisions about their educational programs. The South Dakota Department of Education’s ultimate goal is that all students in the state will graduate High School College, Career and Life Ready. The accountability system aligns with this goal and seeks to spotlight successful practices, identify areas for growth, and ultimately, to ensure that all South Dakota students leave the K-12 system ready for the challenges of college and careers in the 21st century


South Dakota’s ESEA Flexibility Waiver was approved by the U.S. Department of Education in June 2012, and was approved for extension in July 2014. The waiver provides states with flexibility from certain provisions of No Child Left Behind. This allowed South Dakota to move forward in developing a new accountability system designed to provide a broader picture of school performance.

This waiver has three critical components:
Principle 1: High Quality Academic Standards and Assessments
South Dakota has committed to implementing high quality academic standards aligned to college and career readiness, and will begin implementing high quality assessments aligned to these standards in spring 2014.
Principle 2: Statewide System of Accountability, Recognition and Support

To meet the requirements under ESEA flexibility, South Dakota has designed a new accountability system that:
• Centers around a School Performance Index
• Includes annual reporting of data, via a State Report Card
• Provides recognition for high-performing schools
• Provides Support for Schools that need it

The system has been in place since 2012-13 and minor changes are being proposed to reflect lessons learned as we go into the 2014-15 academic year and beyond.

Principle 3: Effective Teachers and Leaders

South Dakota has agreed to implement high quality teacher and principal evaluation systems beginning in the 2014-15 academic year. These systems must evaluate educators on measures of both professional practice and student growth.

District Implementation:

To meet the requirements of the state accountability system, public school districts must:

• Teach to the state Content Standards
Evaluate teachers and principals using high quality systems
• Administer the state assessment
Share information with parents about student performance
Share information with the public about school performance

Useful Links:

• Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO)
• ESEA Flexibility
• Focus and Priority Schools
• Reward Schools
• State Academic Standards
• Assessment
• Teacher and Principal Effectiveness
• Future Updates


Contact the Office of Assessment and Accountability Staff.