The State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort to establish a shared set of clear educational standards in English language arts and mathematics for grades K-12. It was launched by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices.

The South Dakota Department of Education gathered input from educators regarding content, rigor, developmental appropriateness and alignment of the standards throughout the process and then provided that feedback to CCSSO and NGA. Feedback from South Dakota educators was generally positive.

On Nov. 29, 2010, the South Dakota Board of Education moved to adopt the Standards.

In preparation for 2014-15 assessment, the Department of Education is launching the professional development series, which will cover a span of three years. The series will provide South Dakota educators with a systemic model to implement the  within a learning environment rich in collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking.

The underlying outcomes for this initiative are:
• Provide teachers with a hands on experience to gain a deeper understanding of the standards;
• Investigate how the standards impact teaching practices;
• Learn about the standards starting with the end in mind, how the standards can be assessed, working through curriculum planning;
• Give teachers opportunities to collaborate with other teachers from their grade levels as they understand standards;
• Emphasize standards-driven curriculum;
• Utilize Standards in Practice® theory and Understanding by Design model to gain model units of how to teach the standards that illustrate the vision;
• Connecting relevant initiatives and the 4 Rs (rigor, relevance, relationships, results).

South Dakota along with 30 states have joined the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). In 2015, a set of comprehensive and innovative assessments including state-of-the-art adaptive online exams, for grades 3-8 and high school in English language arts and mathematics aligned to the State Standards will be assess so that all students leave high school prepared for postsecondary success in college or a career through increased student learning and improved teaching.

For more information, contact Becky Nelson at the Department of Education's Division of Curriculum, Career and Technical Education at (605) 773-4681.