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

T: 605.773.3455
F: 605.773.5320


For Immediate Release 23 March, 2000

Regents Hear Report on 1999 Proficiency Exams

ABERDEEN-The South Dakota Board of Regents, at its regular business meeting at the South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, heard a report today on the results of the fall administration of the proficiency examinations taken by sophomores enrolled in the six regental universities.

"Once again the results of the proficiency examinations have shown us that South Dakota students are receiving a superior education. As they have since the installation of the exam, the average scores of students within the South Dakota public university system have exceeded national scores. South Dakotans should be proud of their children and their universities as they continue to rank above the rest of the nation," said Regents President Harvey C. Jewett, IV.

Students within the South Dakota public university system exceeded the national mean scores in all subject areas. Compared to national scores, South Dakota students' strength continues to be in the areas of science reasoning and mathematics. In science reasoning 63.2% of South Dakota students scored at or above the national mean and 58.7% of South Dakota students scored at or above the national mean in mathematics.

The passing rates for students taking the proficiency examination for the first time in Fall 1999 were 99.4% in science reasoning, 98.1% in mathematics, 97.2% in reading and 92.8% in writing skills.


"In Spring 1998, the Regents began to require that all second-semester sophomores take the proficiency exam. The exam continues to be an effective tool in measuring the value we add to the education of our students. By analyzing the results of the proficiency exam we can recognize those students who require further instruction and can offer them remediation. And by comparing our scores to national norms we are able to assess our curriculum to better meet the needs of our students," said Regents Executive Director Robert T. Tad Perry.

A system-wide total of 2,412 rising juniors were required to sit for the proficiency exam for the first time in Fall 1999. Of those students, only 1.0% did not sit for the exam. In addition to those students testing for the first time, there were 112 students who retested. A total of 79 students out of the 112 who retested in Fall 1999 were retesting for the first time.

Attached are tables displaying the comparisons of South Dakota students to their reference group.

Summary of Student Performance

Students Testing for the First Time Fall 1999


Test Score Means

Writing Skills



Science Reasoning












Passing Rates by Students Testing for the First Time Fall 1999












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