Junior high students at Rutland and Oldham-Ramona schools received special recognition Wednesday from state Department of Education officials.
Rutland Junior High was designated an Exemplary school, and Oldham-Ramona Junior High was named a Status school under the state's school performance index.
Thirty-four schools earned classifications of exemplary, which is the top rating and includes the top 5 percent of schools. Eighteen of this year's highest achievers were exemplary for a second year in a row.
The next 34 schools earned status classifications based on their high-ranking scores, placing them in the top 10 percent of schools.
The 2013 Report Card released by the state Education Department reflects its implementation under South Dakota's new accountability system. The system is based on a 100-point School Performance Index, or SPI. The SPI consists of multiple indicators that measure a school's performance. Two distinct indexes are used; one for elementary/middle school accountability and another for high school accountability.
Student achievement is measured by the Dakota STEP test. According to state officials, proficiency rates on the state assessment have remained steady in the mid-70s for several years, a trend that has continued during the 2012-13 school year. Across the state, 74 percent of students scored at the proficient or advanced levels in math. In reading, 74 percent of students scored at the proficient or advanced levels.
During this school year, the state will move to new standards in English and math, and a new assessment will follow. State Education Secretary Melody Schopp has cautioned everyone not to compare the old and new assessments, saying the state's schools are moving to more rigorous standards and using a more complex assessment.