The Argus Leader reports that student research and writing are on the rise in South Dakota’s laptop initiative, but test scores aren’t seeing the same benefit, state Education Department officials told legislators Sept. 23.The Government Operations and Audit Committee heard a report about Classroom Connections, Gov. Mike Rounds’ initiative to provide laptop computers for each high school student."We’re seeing an increased amount of research by students on the internet," said Wade Pogany, who directs curriculum and technology programs for the agency. That was one goal of the laptop initiative, he said. Another was improving "21st-century skills" such as problem-solving, collaboration, and fluency in information technology."What we know is, there’s more writing going on," he said. "Is it going on everywhere? No, and that’s an issue we have to address." As for test scores, Pogany said it’s difficult to gauge the effect.Test scores from the 20 schools first into the laptop program showed mixed results. Reading scores fell in 12 schools from 2007 to 2008, while math scores rose in 13 schools. Officials said it takes five to seven years of scores to gauge a good trend…

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