Academic or Content Standards: Academic or content standards indicate what children are expected to know and be able to do in each academic area (reading, math, science, etc.). Parents and educators developed the South Dakota Content Standards. Standards represent a critical core of knowledge and abilities that all students must have to be successful in school and in their adult lives.

Accountability: The notion that schools and school systems are responsible for the academic results of their students (i.e., meeting standards). Under No Child Left Behind, the progress of every public school student must be measured each year in English/language arts and math in grades 3 through 8 and at least once during grades 10 through 12. The results of these tests are used in creating the state, district and individual student report cards.

Achievement Gap: The difference in school achievement between different groups of students such as racial/ethnic groups, income levels, etc.

Assessment: Synonymous with testing; assessment should measure progress toward the mastery of academic standards.

Adequate yearly progress: The SD Department of Education will determine how much progress schools and students need to make on a yearly basis. This amount of improvement is called Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). To determine AYP, the state will look at how much progress is necessary each year in order for 100% of students to be proficient by the 2013-2014 school year.

Corrective Action: When a school fails to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) for four consecutive years, and is therefore on the “needing improvement” list for three consecutive years, No Child Left Behind requires that at least one of the following corrective actions be taken: replace school staff, implement a new curriculum, decrease management authority, appoint an independent expert to advise the school, extend the school day or year, or reorganize the school internally. The district must continue to offer a transfer option choice and supplemental educational services to parents whose children are Corrective Action schools.

Curriculum:The subject material that teachers teach and that, hopefully, is aligned with the academic standards.

Data: Facts or figures from which conclusions can be made; information.

Dakota STEP: The Dakota State Test of Educational Performance or STEP is a standardized test developed by the South Dakota State Department of Education in conjunction with South Dakota reading and math educators and educational testing experts. The Dakota STEP has two parts. One part will assess student performance in relation to the state content standards in reading and math. Other aspects of the STEP will provide information as to how students are performing in comparison to other students in the state and nation.

Disaggregated Data: Disaggregate means to separate a whole into its parts. In education, this term means that test results are sorted into group of students. Student groups specifically identified for sorting are students who are economically disadvantaged, from racial or ethnic minority groups, have disabilities, or have limited English fluency. South Dakota will also be looking at gender and migrant performance rates. Disaggregating the data will allow parents and teachers to see more than just the average score for their child’s school; they will be able to see how each student group is performing.

Highly qualified teachers: A highly qualified teacher is one who has a bachelor’s degree, state teacher’s certifications, and has demonstrated competencies in teaching and learning. Teachers may demonstrate competency by:

  • Taking and passing a state test (all new or existing teachers)
  • Having completed a college major, advanced course work or certification, or a masters degree in subjects taught (new or existing middle and high school teachers)
  • Obtaining house rules (all existing teachers)

Local Education Agency (LEA): A school district.

Limited English Proficiency (LEP): Individuals whose primary/native language is not English.

Professional Development:The on-going training of teachers.

Proficient: A term that indicates a student is able to do something he or she is supposed to do at his/her age and grade level. Proficient is one of three terms generally used to characterize test scores, the others being “advanced” (higher performing) and “basic” (failing).

Public School Choice: Students in schools identified as in need of improvement will have the option to transfer to a public school that is performing better within the same district. The district will be responsible for transportation for the students.

Report Cards: Each school must distribute a report card on every child to his or her parents. These report cards must explain how the child did on state assessment tests and how they compare to other children in the school, district, and state. In addition, No Child Left Behind requires states and school districts to produce similar report cards annually, detailing the performance of individual schools and districts, and to make this information easily available to the public.

Restructuring: Schools on the state “needing improvement” list for five consecutive years face mandatory restructuring. These actions may include reopening the school as a charter school or turning over school operations either to the state or to a private company with a demonstrated record of effectiveness.

Safe Schools: Students attending schools labeled “persistently dangerous” or who are the victim of a violent crime on school grounds have the right to transfer to a safer school within the district.

School Choice:A broad term that refers to a parents right to choose schooling options for their child. Under No Child Left Behind, parents have school choice options when their child’s school has been on the state “needing improvement” list for two consecutive years. These choice rights include transferring to an approved (higher-performing) school within the district (with transportation paid by the district) or getting free tutoring services for their child if a transfer school is not available.

School Improvement: Schools that do not meet the minimum level of performance and do not make adequate yearly progress for two consecutive years will be identified as a school in need of improvement. All students in the school, as well as, certain groups of students must achieve minimum levels and progress annually.

Scientifically based research: Research that involves the application of rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant to education activities and programs.

Standardized tests: Standardized tests or assessments are tests that are developed by experts, have been thoroughly evaluated, are given to large numbers of individuals, and are given under the same conditions and time constraints. No Child Left Behind requires states to administer standardized academic achievement tests that assess student progress in achieving the state academic content standards. Beginning in the 2002-03 school year, tests in reading and math must be administered to all students in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 11th grades. Beginning in the 2007-08 school year, students will be tested in science. South Dakota will also test the writing skills of 5th and 9th grade students.

Supplemental Services: Students from low-income families who are attending schools in levels two, three or four of school improvement may be eligible for supplemental services. Supplemental services occur outside the school day and may include tutorial or educational enrichment services. Supplemental Service Providers are approved by the state. Parents of eligible students may choose a provider from the approved list. The school must assist with the costs of supplemental services. Priority will be given to students with the greatest educational need.

Supplemental Service Provider: A business or organization, approved by the state, to provide free tutoring services to eligible students under a contract with the school district. The state is required to publish a listing of approved providers, and parents whose children are eligible for these services can select the provider they want to tutor their child.

Title 1 Schools: The federal government provides funding to schools with high numbers of children from low-income families. Every state receives Title I funding, and this money must be put towards school improvement programs, including the No Child Left Behind provisions that provide parents with school choice.

Transfer Option: A parent’s No Child Left Behind right to move their child to a higher-performing school. The district is required to inform parents if they are eligible for this transfer option.