News Release
Contacts: Robert T. Tad Perry, Executive Director
Carol Stonefield, Director of Information

T: 605.773.3455
F: 605.773.5320


For Release on 16 November 2000


 Colleges’ Feedback Report Reflects Choices and Preparation in High School


PIERRE—Preparation in high school is the key to success in college and beyond, according to South Dakota Board of Regents Executive Director Robert T. Tad Perry. The Board of Regents released its annual High School Feedback Report today, providing data on the freshmen entering in Fall 1999.

"Our data show that students who complete the college preparatory curriculum in high school will earn higher scores on their ACT college entrance exams. In turn, they are more likely to be placed directly into college general education courses, rather than remedial math or English courses," said Perry.

The high school feedback report was developed by the Board of Regents in 1995. The report summarizes information about South Dakota high school graduates who enter South Dakota public universities in the same year in which they graduated.

A total of 2,618 South Dakota 1999 high school graduates entered one of the six Regental universities as full-time freshmen in Fall 1999. Of those, 81 percent enrolled in general education courses, leading to degree credit. The other 19 percent enrolled in either remedial math or English. The following table compares ACT scores and first-year college grade point averages for students enrolled in general education courses and in remedial courses.

SD High School

Class of 1999

Fall 1999 Freshmen Enrolled in General Education Courses

Fall 1999 Freshmen Enrolled in Remedial Education Courses

ACT Composite Score



University GPA




"More than anything else, these data suggest to me that college readiness is a matter of choice. Some students are realizing this. The number of South Dakota high school graduates who were awarded credit for the College Board Advanced Placement exams increased from 4.18 percent in 1998 to 4.55 percent in 1999. These students, with the support of their parents, are choosing to earn college credit while still in high school. We expect that number to increase again for Fall 2000," said Perry. "We also looked at the math courses reported to ACT for the Class of 1999 and saw significant differences in ACT scores, directly related to preparation. Once again, their level of preparation is a matter of choosing a more rigorous curriculum." Those scores are provided in the table below.


Preparation of 1999 South Dakota High School Graduates


Years of Study

HS Math Courses

Math ACT Score

Composite ACT Score

4 Years of Math

Alg 1, Alg 2, Geom, Trig, Calc




Alg 1, Alg 2, Geom, Trig, other adv math




Alg 1, Alg 2, Geom, Trig




Alg 1, Alg 2, Geom, other adv math




3 Years of Math

Alg 1, Alg 2, Geom




Other 3 or 3.5 years of math




2 Years of Math

Any combination




Core Curriculum*




Less than Core Curriculum




Source: ACT High School Profile Report Class of 1999

*Core Curriculum—4 years of English, 3 years or more of math (Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry, and Trigonometry, Calculus or other advanced math), 3 years or more of social sciences, and 3 years or more of natural sciences

"The high school feedback report enhances communication between high schools and the public universities by providing the high schools with information about their graduates’ readiness for postsecondary coursework. Preparing students for college should be the responsibility of a partnership of parents, students, schools and universities. If students are encouraged to take the right courses, they will not need remediation," said Perry. "Parents should be monitoring course selections as early as middle school. The National Educational Longitudinal Study of the U.S. Department of Education shows that the foundation for math success is laid in middle school. Students who study algebra in middle school are at an advantage because this is the foundation for all later math and for science."

Perry also noted that similar performance levels are registered for students who take more English composition in high school.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs requiring at least a bachelor’s degree will increase by 25 percent between 1996 and 2006. Many of these jobs will be in the information technology fields, which rely heavily on math skills and science reasoning. As the level of complexity of the job increases, the need to communicate accurately increases as well, Perry observed. "An educated person must be able to think logically and communicate effectively. These are the base for any education," said Perry.

A copy of the 1999 South Dakota High School Feedback Report may be obtained by calling (605) 773-3455. Please direct questions to Daniel Petra, Program Coordinator for Academic Affairs. The report will be available on the South Dakota Board of Regents web site at the Internet address:



  1. Suggested Interview Questions
  2. Executive Summary Notes and Action Plan


Suggested Interview Questions

Reporters who are interested in interviewing local school officials about the annual high school feedback report might consider asking the following questions:

  1. Does your curriculum include all of the college preparatory courses required for admission to a South Dakota public university?
  2. What percentage of your students is typically enrolled in college preparatory courses?
  3. What types of academic counseling services are provided to students regarding preparation for college? How often do students receive academic counseling? At what grade does that counseling begin?
  4. Within the past year, how many of your students have taken advantage of dual credit courses offered by the South Dakota public universities?
  5. Have your teachers attended College Board Advanced Placement Institutes?
  6. Within the past year, how many of your students have enrolled in College Board Advanced Placement courses? How many of those students have passed their College Board Advanced Placement examinations?

Does your school take advantage of any of the services offered by ACT regarding student academic preparation and educational and career counseling? If so, which ones?

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