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South Dakota Codified Law 13-3-55 requires all public schools to administer an annual writing assessment as directed by the South Dakota Department of Education. In response to this law, the South Dakota Department of Education has adopted an online formative assessment model.

With this model, students in grades 5, 7, & 10 in all public schools use an online literacy program which provides immediate feedback on essay and summary writing activities. With the feedback provided by the online program, teachers are able to use the data provided by the program to better shape instruction and promote student achievement.


All students in grades 5, 7, and 10 are required to respond to two teacher-selected essay prompts during the scheduled testing window which runs from September 2013 through April 30, 2014. Revision requirements of the essay submissions are left to the discretion of the classroom teacher. Additionally, students are not limited to only two annual submissions.

Students in grades 5, 7, and 10 who participate in the DSTEP-A will be required to follow their IEP. They will either have to participate in an alternative writing assessment outside of the WriteToLearn program or use WriteToLearn with the correct accommodations. More information about the alternative writing assessment can be found on the right-hand side of the page under Links.

Writing Submissions
During the 2013-14 school year, students in grades 5, 7, & 10 will need to submit two writing submissions to two different essay prompts within the WriteToLearn program.

Testing Window
During the 2013-14 school year, students will participate in one testing window, which will run from September 2013 through April 30, 2014. Students may submit their two writing samples at any time during this testing window

Student Reports
The reporting requirement for the state writing assessment has been eliminated for the 2013-14 school year. School districts are no longer required to send student writing results from the WriteToLearn program home to parents.

Timeline (All webinar times are Central time zone)

  EVENT   DATE   Time
District Testing Coordinator Trainings (online) August 26, 2013 New: 10-11 a.m.
Veteran: 3-4 p.m.
August 27, 2013 Veteran: 10–11 a.m.
New: 2-3 p.m.
New Teacher Trainings (online) September 10, 2013 4-6 p.m.
September 13, 2012 12-2 p.m.
Veteran Teacher Trainings (online) September 9, 2013 4 - 5 p.m.
September 10, 2013 11 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Testing Window Opens September 3, 2013  

Deadline to Submit List of Participating Teachers

October 25, 2013
Q&A Webinar November 2013 TBD
Mid-Year Teacher Trainings (online) January 2014 TBD

Testing Window Closes

April 30, 2014
Testing Irregularities due to DOE May 15, 2014
Student Licenses Expire August 2014

Only new teachers are required to view a training.

Teachers should register for training, click here to register.

Meeting Link:
Meeting ID: G8T4CK
Dial-in Number: 866-410-8397
Conference Code: 813-497-3389


All South Dakota school districts have the opportunity to purchase off-grade licenses (grades 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, and 12) for the WriteToLearn program at the state rate of $10 per student. These licenses will expire on August 15, 2014.

Unless Pearson is notified that your school does not wish to renew these off-grade licenses, they will automatically renew for the following school year, and your school will receive an invoice for the balance.

For additional licenses, please contact:
Heather Doran
Phone: 480-457-6053


Download Technical Requirements

As a resource for additional WriteToLearn product training, Pearson invites you to visit To access training modules you must first register by clicking on the Register button in the upper right corner of the home page. After filling out each of the fields, click the Create User Account button; South Dakota's account number is: 1004243. After completing the registration process, use the search field to access WriteToLearn training modules.


For more information contact:
Matt Gill
South Dakota Department of Education
800 Governors Drive, Pierre, SD 57501
Office: (605) 773-8193

For Technical Support for the WriteToLearn program:
If you require support, please contact the customer support line at 1-888-977-7100 between the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday – Friday. Also, e-mail, chat, and other product support are available at Finally, documentation is available within the WriteToLearn application.