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Personal Learning Plans

On December 8, 2009, the South Dakota Board of Education Standards approved Personal Learning Plans for all South Dakota students grades 9-12. South Dakota Administrative Rule 24:43:01:01 defines a Personal Learning Plan as "a plan based on a student's skills and interests that identifies the specific coursework a student needs to reach the student's academic and career goals.”

Why are Personal Learning Plans important?

Personalized learning plans help students invest in their own education. When students are given the opportunity to identify their interests, abilities and strengths and use that knowledge to create personalized goals, they become more engaged in the process of what it takes to reach their goals. Personal Learning Plans also help students have a more seamless transition into postsecondary and work place opportunities. 

Typically students work with educators, counselors, advisors and parents to create their personalized learning plans. This collaboration helps to keep everyone on the same page with students' career and academic goals. Students' plans are commonly reviewed and updated annually to reflect changes in their interests, abilities and aspirations.

What is South Dakota's Requirement for Personal Learning Plans?

On December 8, 2009, the following was added to South Dakota Administrative Rule 24:43:11:01.

“All students in grades 9 through 12 must have a personal learning plan. The personal learning plan must document a minimum of 22 units of credit.”

Things to Consider: 

  • The South Dakota Department of Education does not require students’ personal learning plans to be in a specific template. 
  • Each individual school district has local control over what their students' personal learning plans will look like and what they will contain. 
  • The only requirement by administrative rule is that all students’ PLPs document a minimum of 22 units of credit. 
  • Ideally, students should be relating the courses they are planning to take in high school to their academic and career goals for life after high school.

Additional information about South Dakota's requirements can be found on the Department of Education's Accreditation webpage under Components of Accreditation Review, 14.Personal Learning Plan (PLP); and Video Tutorials, Personal Learning Plans (PLPs). 

What can be included in a PLP?

Beyond the 22 units of credit that are required for a personal learning plan, school districts may choose to ask students to include any or all of the following:

  • college, career and life goals
  • strengths and weaknesses
  • achievements and milestones
  • knowledge and skills students would like to acquire
  • personal interest, passions and hobbies
  • volunteer and work experiences

Personal Learning Plans may vary from school district to school district as each individual district is able to determine what is best for their students to include in their personal learning plans. 

PLP Frequently Asked Questions

Which grades are required to have a Personal Learning Plan?

All students in grades 9, 10, 11, and 12 are required to a personal learning plan. 

What about 8th grade students?

Some schools may choose to start PLPs with 8th graders, but it is not required for 8th graders to have PLPs.

What format can be used for PLPs?

PLPs can be in any format. Examples include SDMyLife (Xello), Infinite Campus' Multi-Year Academic Planner, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Paper & Pencil or any other program or format. View some examples below. 

What is the difference between a PLP and a transcript audit?

A personal learning plan: 

  • contains past, current and future courses, 
  • always contains a minimum of 22 units of credit, and 
  • typically contains more than just course and credit information (such as goals and achievements)

A transcript audit: 

  • only tracks past and current courses
  • only has the number of credits a student has earned, and 
  • typically only contains course and credit information
  • does not meet the SD PLP requirement

Example PLPs

SD PLP Template:

SD PLP Template

SD student examples: 

SD PLP Examples