November 8, 2013
UNION COUNTY — Union County Schools received an Absolute rating of Good and a Growth rating of Excellent on its 2013 South Carolina Report Card released today.
Included in the calculation of the district scores was the 2013 high school graduation rate of 82.2 percent. The Absolute rating of Good indicates district performance exceeded the standards for progress toward the South Carolina performance goal for the designated year, and the Growth rating of Excellent indicates district performance substantially exceeded the standards over time.
The 2013 Absolute rating of Good is the first for the district since 2005. The 2013 Growth rating of Excellent is the first that the district has received since 2003, which was the first year that the state issued report cards. Union County Schools is one of eight districts in a comparison group of twenty-four districts earning an Absolute rating of Good. Six of the districts in the comparison group received an Absolute rating of Excellent and ten received an Absolute rating of Average. The district received an Absolute rating of Average and a Growth rating of Good for the two previous years.
The district graduation rate of 82.2 percent is 2.9 percentage points higher than that of 2012 and exceeds both the state graduation rate of 77.5 percent and that of similar districts, which is 78.7 percent. The district has not had a graduation rate higher than 80 percent since 2006.
In addition to the district report card, Union County Schools received nine school report cards due to grade configurations within the elementary and middle schools: two at Jonesville and Lockhart and one at each of the other elementary, middle, and high schools. The Absolute rating at each of the schools was Average, indicating that the performance at each school met the standards for progress toward the South Carolina performance goal. All schools as well as the district have met that goal for three consecutive years. Buffalo Elementary School, Jonesville Elementary School, Jonesville Middle School, Lockhart Elementary School, Lockhart Middle School, and Sims Middle School also received a Growth rating of Average. Foster Park Elementary School, Monarch Elementary School, and Union County High School received Growth ratings of Below Average.
Created by the Education Accountability Act of 1998, South Carolina’s School Report Cards rate schools and districts as either Excellent, Good, Average, Below Average, or At Risk. Each school and district receives two state ratings: one for absolute performance, which measures student performance for a single year, and another for growth, which measures student performance over time.
Elementary and middle school report card ratings are based on student achievement on the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS) in the areas of English language arts (reading and writing), math, science, and social studies. PASS scores for students in grades 3-8 also account for 50 percent of the district’s absolute score. Thirty percent of the district’s absolute score is determined by the four-year high school graduation rate while another ten percent is determined by the five-year high school graduation rate. The percentage of high school students scoring 70 or better on South Carolina’s End of Course tests and the percentage of second-year high school students passing the High School Assessment Program (HSAP) exit examination on the first attempt make up the remaining 10 percent of the district’s absolute rating. At the high school level, the absolute rating is based on the four-year and five-year graduation rates, longitudinal HSAP passage rate, first time HSAP passage rate, and End of Course Test data.
In addition to information concerning absolute and growth ratings, school report cards provide a variety of information including a comparison of student performance within the school or district to that of students at similar schools or districts; indicators of teacher quality and levels of education; and survey results of teacher, student, and parent perceptions of the learning environment, the social and physical environment, and home/school relations.
Copies of the school report cards can be found on the South Carolina State Department of Education’s website: www.ed.sc.gov. As in the past the State Department of Education will not be providing copies of the school report cards due to budget cuts; however, parents who do not have access to the Internet may request a copy from the student’s school or from the district office.
Each student attending Union County Schools will receive letters or brochures developed by school administrators explaining highlights of the 2013 report card. Parents who have individual questions or concerns should contact their student’s principal to receive an explanation of the report card scores. Principals will also review the scores at PTA or PTO and School Improvement Council meetings.
The entire district received an Absolute rating of Good and a Growth rating of Excellent. The 2013 ratings by individual schools are listed below: