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About the Dakota State Test of Educational Progress (Dakota STEP)

What is the Dakota State Test of Educational Progress (Dakota STEP)?

State Testing Information for South Dakota

Portions of the following material were taken from the South Dakota Department of Education website. Please see our links and source sections at the bottom of the page for more details and references.

Common Core State Standards

The Common Core 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.

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 Common Core 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.

General Description of the Tests

Dakota State Test of Educational Progress (Dakota STEP)

  • Grades: 3 - 8, 11
  • Subjects: Reading, Mathematics, Science
  • South Dakota’s annual statewide assessment of student progress
  • STEP has as its basic platform the new Stanford 10 Abbreviated test.
  • The assessment provides critical feedback to educators, students and parents regarding students’ academic achievement and mastery of South Dakota’s academic content standards.
  • It was designed to:

  • - Establish high expectations for the education of South Dakota students
    - Identify students who may need extra help in reading, mathematics and science
    - Help schools and teachers identify weaknesses in their curriculum and improve instruction in those areas
    - Help teachers and parents monitor achievement
    - Improve the accountability of the state’s educational system


Stanford 10 Abbreviated

  • Grade: 3-8, 11
  • Subjects: Reading, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Language Arts
  • Gives educators objective, valid evidence of what students know and are able to do and helps them make data-driven decisions
  • Reports were designed with input from administrators and teachers across the country.
  • Yields both norm-referenced and standards-based scores


Dakota Assessment of Content Standards (DACS)

  • Grades: 3, 6, 10
  • A criterion referenced/standards-based test gives educators feedback that can be used to make revisions to improve curriculum.
  • Students take the DACS test online through their school’s computer system.


Dakota Writing Assessment (Stanford 9)

  • Grades: 5, 7, 10
  • Contains prompts in four modes—descriptive, narrative, expository, and persuasive—that elicit a rough-draft response from the student


Dakota STEP – A

  • Grades 3-8, 11
  • Subjects: Reading, Mathematics, Science, Writing Alternate, Technology Alternate
  • Alternate Assessment
  • Available for students who have a significant cognitive disability and are working in the Alternate Content Standards and whose IEP’s indicate alternate assessment for statewide testing


National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

  • Grades: 4, 8, 12
  • Subjects: U.S. History, Civics, Geography, Writing
  • Often referred to as “The Nation’s Report Card”
  • The only nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subjects
  • Provides results for the nation as a whole and for the states individually
  • Performance is reported by groups of students, e.g. aggregated scores, by gender, by different racial and ethnic groups, and by participation of special programs. NAEP does not provide results for individual students or for their schools.



Practice Tests for the Dakota State Test of Educational Progress (Dakota STEP)

Our curriculum is focused around actual material that a student is likely to see on the upcoming Dakota State Test of Educational Progress (Dakota STEP) test. Nationally known for delivering high quality and affordable materials that help students improve their scores, we provide you both paper-based instruction and easy to use online test preparation.


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