Semester tests different this year for SF School District


It has been an unusual spring for students everywhere as kids, parents and teachers learn from a distance instead of in person. This is the last full week of remote teaching before the end of the school year for the Sioux Falls School District.

“Students are tired,” said Danyelle Brown, who teaches math at Lincoln High School in Sioux Falls. “And so anything that we can do as teachers to keep them motivated, to just finish it through the end. I’ve been sending postcards, we’ve been Zooming like crazy, just any way that we can just make that personal connection, so that it’s more than just about the content. Students learn with relationships.”

The last day students had in-person schooling in the district was March 13. For this unusual spring, semester tests are different.

“We’ve gone away from the actual test itself at the high school,” Sioux Falls School District Superintendent Brian Maher said. “So we’ve gone to final projects that, it might be a test, it might be an essay of some sort, some sort of artifact that shows that you have learned during this unprecedented time.”

“Teachers are given a little bit more freedom this year to let students demonstrate their knowledge in different ways, so for a teacher, it’s been fun, because it’s a different way to assess, it gives us opportunities to really have the students demonstrate what they’ve learned, besides just the paper/pencil test,” Brown said.

This spring has tested many people in different ways, and lessons did emerge.

“I think when you think of the biggest keys from this semester, it’s how did you adapt, how did you adjust, what sort of resilience did you muster up to keep moving on,” Maher said. “That’s for our teachers, that’s for our administrators, and that’s certainly for our students.”

The final day of the year for the Sioux Falls School District is next Wednesday.

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