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Report: Rapid City schools performing below state average in some areas

Report: Rapid City schools performing below state average in some areas

Rapid City Area Schools

Rapid City public schools performed slightly below average in several measures of achievement during the 2018-2019 academic year, according to a report card issued by the South Dakota Department of Education. 

The report cards, which were released Tuesday, break down the state assessment grades, high school completion rates, and the level of college and career readiness of South Dakota's schools and school districts, among other factors.

South Dakota students are given state assessments on English language arts and mathematics in grades three through eight, as well. State science exams are given in grades five and six. Students are given all three during their junior year of high school.

For the 2018-2019 academic year, 51 percent of Rapid City Area Schools students met state expectations on their English exams, up from 50 percent the year before. The state average is 54 percent.

On their math exams, meanwhile, 43 percent of students met expectations, down from 44 percent during the 2017-2018 school year. The state average for math assessments last school year was 46 percent.

Thirty-seven percent of students met expectations on their science assessments, down from 44 percent the year before. Statewide averages for science exam proficiency was at 40 percent.

For the 2018-2019 school year, 55 percent of students improved upon previously recorded assessment scores for English. The state average was 58 percent.

Forty-eight percent improved on previously recorded scores for the math exam, meanwhile, compared to a state average of 51 percent. Improvements on the science exam were not included in the report.

In terms of high school completion, 77 percent of Rapid City public school students graduated on time last school year, up from 75 percent the previous two school years. State on-time completion averaged 84 percent last year.

The report card for last school year notes that 58 percent of Rapid City students went on to institutions of higher education based on information from the National Student Clearinghouse. Thirty-nine percent went on to public in-state schools, while 3 percent went to private in-state schools. Out-of-state enrollments totaled 16 percent.

District-wide, the report card states that 40 percent of students were considered to be prepared for college and for their careers, compared to a state average of 48 percent. The education department determines this figure based off a combination of course completion and standardized testing scores.

The report found that 87 percent of Rapid City school students attended at least 90 percent of their enrollment days compared to a state average of 92 percent. It also found that 22 percent of students exhibited signs of chronic absenteeism, meaning they missed more than 10 days of school and 10 percent of enrollment days. The state average of chronic absenteeism for last year was 14 percent.

In a statement, the department touted the progress made by English-learning students as a bright spot. The statewide percentage of students considered "on-track" for English master jumped from 33 percent to 45 percent last school year.

Based off their scores on ACCESS, a commonly used assessment for students learning English as their second language, 44 percent of Rapid City students showed improvement last school year in their language education.

— Contact Matthew Guerry at matthew.guerry@rapidcityjournal.com

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