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Groton Uses Laptops To Improve Test Scores

September 9, 2010, 5:22 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Groton Uses Laptops To Improve Test Scores
GROTON, SD - Groton Elementary School is boasting strong scores on the latest Dakota STEP tests. In fact, it even received a distinguished district award.

But that isn’t necessarily what students are excited about.

Four students at Groton Elementary School will own a new laptop computer Friday. Test scores earned them that chance.

"I'm very excited actually," sixth grader Lincoln Gibbs said.

To motivate the students to do their best on the Dakota STEP and not just race to get it done, the school announced last year that students could win a lap top if they did well.

"I think it's going to be awesome if I do win it because it'd be so cool if I had a laptop. It'd be awesome," Jennifer Fjelstad said.

Each class has a performance goal on the test. If the class reaches its goal, every student in it gets their name in the drawing. If the students individually achieve a proficient score or higher, they get their name in the drawing again.

"They're all excited and all of them have that chance so what greater way to motivate them," 4th grade teacher Joel Guthmiller said.

Guthmiller and other teachers are always looking for ways to push students to do their best. This is the first time they've tried laptops. And the school is very happy with the results it's seen.

"Definitely got a lot of kids motivated,” Gibbs said. “It got me motivated, that's for sure. I took a lot of time."

With the success the district has seen in the incentive's first year, it hopes to dangle a computer in front of the students in the coming years as well.

The school had fundraisers to pay for the computers and a parent group helped out as well.

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