Superintendent Says Bad Report Card For School District Is Misleading

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It sounds like troubling news. A new report card put out by the South Dakota Department of Education says only about a third of Sioux Falls’ high school seniors are ready for college or a career. Could that be true? Only a third? 

Officials with the Sioux Falls school district say that low score is misleading.  

The new report card put out by the Department of Education sounds bad for the district and its students. 

“I would say what is troubling is that we are putting that out to the state that says 32 percent of our students are college and career ready and I would say that’s erroneous,” Superintendent Brian Maher said. 

Maher says that’s because the state Department of Education gives juniors and seniors a chance to take what’s called the National Career Readiness Certificate exam, but it’s not required.  

Since only five of 1,600 students in the district took the exam, it resulted in the low score. 

The district believes its seniors are ready for the real world. Its graduation rate is just over 83 percent and of those, 64 percent go onto secondary school. 

“When we look at the opportunities provided for students, we know they are college and career ready, it’s just they are using a different metric than we are,” Assistant Superintendent Teresa Boysen said. 

Maher says the district could improve its state score if it required all students to take the NCRC exam, but doesn’t feel it would make them any more ready than they already are. 

“We have to be mindful of what does it mean for kids.  If it’s good for kids, we’re all in, but until we are convinced that, we’ll take the ding and answer the questions annually and we’ll continue to prepare kids for the workforce,” Maher said. 

If you would like to take a closer look at the report card, click here.

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