SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Attendance rates in South Dakota schools have been a concern for the state Department of Education.
In the fall of 2022, the South Dakota Department of Education launched its awareness campaign to promote regular school attendance. Lower or poor school attendance can lead to a student dropping out, poor academic performance and other challenges.
The annual South Dakota state report card showed some improvement in two attendance categories. The attendance rate for economically disadvantaged students increased 4% over 2021-2022 in the 2022-2023 school year. The rate for English language learners increased by more than 2.5%, according to the report.
The overall attendance rate stayed at 86%. The attendance rate was 92% before COVID-19. It dropped to 86% for the 2021-2022 school year. The attendance rate has been lower than 86%.
The attendance rate was 80.23% for the 2015-2016 school year, according to that year’s report card. In 2014-2015, the rate was 79.66%.
The report covers 138,075 students in 693 public schools in 149 districts.
The chronic absentee rate for state students was 21%. Although the attendance rate is less than 90%, students are still completing high school at a rate of 91%.
The state said the drop out rate was 2%.
The on-time graduation rate was 84%.
American Indian students had the lowest rate (48%) on-time graduation rate.
The rates for economically disadvantaged (66%), students in foster care (30%) and homeless (44%) were well behind the average rate. Still the on-time rate improved from 60% in 2021-2022 for economically-disadvantaged students.
The report card also includes overall measurements of achievements and progress in several categories.
The rate of student progress is 53%, which is higher than the 50% proficiency rate.
Student progress measures the progress students have made on the state assessments in the subject area. According to the DOE, it illustrates whether students are learning and improving.
The proficiency rates are the assessment test results given at specific grade levels.
The progress rate in math was 48%. The proficiency rate for math and science were both at 43%.
Students who identified as white or Asian outperformed other identified categories in proficiency in English, science and math. Males outperformed females in math (44% to 41%) and science (45% to 42%). Females performed better in English language arts at 55% to 46%.
In 2021-2022, the proficiency split between males and females in math was 1% at 48% for males and 47% for females.
The report cards also show the overall make-up of the student population has not changed much over the past several years.
At 71% (70.94%), the student population was still predominately white in 2022-2023. The percentage was 72% in 2020-2021.
The percentage of American Indian and Hispanic/Latino students has been steady over the past several years. The percentages were 10.42% for American Indians in 2022-2023 and in 2020-2021, it was 10.68%. The percentage for Hispanic/Latino students was 7.97% in 2022-2023 and it was 7.07% in 2020-2021. If the percentages are rounded, the American Indian population dropped by about 1% from 2020-2021 to 2022-2023 while the Hispanic/Latino population grew by 1% in the same time period.