Jan 28, 2014

South Dakota KIDS COUNT issues new fourth grade reading proficiency report

Shows decline with low income kids lagging behind their peers

VERMILLION, S.D. -- A new report released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that South Dakota’s fourth grade students have declined in reading scores. “That’s not good news,” says Carole Cochran, Director for South Dakota KIDS COUNT, “particularly as this is coupled with data showing children in lower income families testing below their peers and that gap is widening.” In South Dakota, test scores for all students show a slight decline, with 68 percent of students reading below proficient in 2013 compared to 67 percent in 2003. South Dakota is one of four states showing this decline.

The report looks at recent test scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) at the National Center for Educational Statistics. NAEP assessments are administered uniformly using the same sets of test booklets across the nation, and the state results are based on public school students only. The NAEP rates a student’s test scores in three categories: Basic, Proficient and Advanced.

NAEP scores are also broken down by those eligible for free and reduced school lunch (low income) and those who are not (higher income). Results in South Dakota show that reading proficiency decreased for the low income students and improved slightly for the higher income students from 2003 to 2013. The gap between low and high income students, already pronounced, increased to 20 percent between 2003 and 2013 (See the chart below).

Percent of South Dakota Fourth Graders Reading below Proficient Levels


All Students


Low Income Students


Higher Income Students

Percent Change in Gap

2003 - 2013















About South Dakota KIDS COUNT

The South Dakota KIDS COUNT project is part of a network of projects supported and coordinated by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Data and information are collected and published about the demographics, health, education, economic and safety of children. The data provide South Dakotans a broad picture of how the state's children are doing and provide parents, policymakers, advocates and others interested in the well-being of children with information they need to make informed decisions about policies and programs for children and families.  For information e-mail SDKC at sdkidscount@usd.edu or visit www.sdkidscount.org.

About The University of South Dakota
Founded in 1862, The University of South Dakota is designated as the only public liberal arts university in the state and is home to a comprehensive College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, the state's only School of Law, School of Medicine, the accredited Beacom School of Business and the College of Fine Arts. USD has an enrollment of more than 10,000 students taught by more than 400 faculty members. More information is available at www.usd.edu/press/news.

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Peter Carrels
The University of South Dakota
(605) 216-1233
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