UNION COUNTY — Everything is increasingly online and that’s certainly the case in the Union County School District where for the first time ever students took all three statewide student assessment tests online and, in some cases, performed better than the state averages.
In a statement released this week, Chief Academy Officer Cindy Langley announced that the South Carolina Department of Education had released the test scores for students in the 3rd-12th grades. Langley said that this year was the first time the district’s students took each of the statewide assessment tests — SC Ready, SC PASS (Palmetto Assessment of State Standards) and End of Course — online. She said that each of the tests has been aligned to grade-level South Carolina standards.
Langley said that this year’s tests was the second time students in grades 3-8 took SC Ready in 2016-17. She said that while scale scores were changed in 2016-17 and cannot be compared to those in 2015-16, the percentage of students scoring at each of the four performance levels — Not Met, Approaches, Meets, Exceeds — can be compared.
Statewide the percentage of students scoring Meets and Exceeds in ELA was down at all grade levels. Langley said that, likewise, scores were down locally at all grade levels with the exception of Grade 7 where the ELA scores of students in Union increased from 25.5 percent to 28.8 percent, though Langley said it is still below the state percentage of 36.4 percentage.
Mirroring state scores, Langley said the percentage of students scoring Meets and Exceeds in Math at grades 6 and 8 increased. There was a decrease, however, at each of the other grade levels in the categories of Meets and Exceeds.
Students in grades 4-8 took SC PASS in science and in social studies.
Langley said that science performance was reported in the same four categories as SC Ready scores in 2016-17 and cannot be compared to that of previous years when it was reported in three areas. She said that Union County students surpassed the state performance of students in Meets and Exceeds in grade 6 with 49.2 percent scoring Meets and Exceeds locally compared to 48 percent statewide. Langley said that Social Studies scores are comparable to those of the previous year since the performance levels remained the same: Not Met, Met, and Exemplary. Like those at the state level, Langley said scores were down at all grade levels. However, Langley said that students in Union County outperformed those statewide in grade 6.
End Of Course
Students took End of Course (EOC) examinations, which Langley said count 20 percent of their final average in each respective classes, at the end of the following courses: English 1, Algebra I or Intermediate Algebra, Biology 1, and US History. Locally, Langley said the most accelerated students took the English 1 and Algebra 1 examinations in 8th grade. She said their scores exceeded the state averages in Algebra I and English 1.
Langley stressed that EOC scores in 2016-17 cannot easily be compared to previous scores since the scores are now reported using the new 10-point South Carolina Uniform Grading Scale. Additionally, for the first time in 2016-17, Langley said a “B” average on both the English I EOC exam and on the Algebra I EOC exam has been set to correspond to the Benchmark score for College Readiness on the ACT exam.
A complete listing of all scores can be found on the state and district websites. Langley said district and school instructional leaders and teachers will continue to analyze the state data to identify trends and patterns in an effort to improve instruction for all students. She said parents should receive a copy of their student’s individual score report at parent conferences to be held Thursday afternoon from 3:30-7 p.m. on Thursday, October 19 and from 8 a.m.-noon on Friday, October 20.