The South Dakota Board of Education Standards is adopting updates to six subject areas, including math and English language arts. The board is responsible for curriculum standards for kindergarten through twelfth grade.
Becky Nelson is the Director of Learning and Instruction for the state Department of Education. She says most changes involve clarifying language in existing standards. For instance, math standards now include learning how to read both digital and analog clocks in third grade. Nelson says the board has also added new standards for math beyond algebra.
"Typically students take Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II," Nelson says. "But South Dakota didn't have a lot of guidance for students taking fourth level math. So there were quite a few new standards developed for the fourth level of math."
Standard changes for English language arts include requiring students to choose their own reading materials for some assignments. That skill can help students be more independent readers later in life.
"The work group and its members that were reviewing the standards really felt that students need to be able to self-select their own text that they want to read," Nelson says. "So they added that language to a standard.
Other subject areas with updated standards include capstone courses, career and technical education, health education, and the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings. Becky Nelson says the new standards are available online at the department of education website.
She says schools aren't required to implement the new English standards until the fall of 2019, and math changes aren't required until fall of 2020.
The Board of Education Standards reviews core subjects every seven years, and career and technical education every five years.