UNION — Math was again the strongest subject while history the weakest for the Union County students taking the 2012 end of course exams.
Cindy Langley, director of secondary education, announced Monday that information released by the S.C. Department of Education shows “end of course examination scores for students in Union County School District improved in three of four subject areas.” Those areas where student performance improved were:
• Algebra 1 where the average score increased from 76.5 percent in 2010 to 78.0 percent in 2011 to 79.9 percent in 2012.
• English 1 where the average score increased from 71.2 percent in 2010 to 72.1 percent in 2011 to 73 percent in 2012.
• Biology 1, which was implemented last year, where the average score increased from 75.4 percent in 2011 to 75.6 percent in 2012.
The only area where student performance declined was U.S. History and Constitution which went from 67.3 percent in 2010 to 68.7 percent in 2011 to 67.5 percent in 2012.
Statewide, the average score was 81.0 percent in Algebra I, up from 80.9 percent; 80 percent in Biology 1, up from 77.6 percent; 78.2 percent in English 1, up from 77.1 percent; and 71.2 percent in U.S. History and Constitution, up from 71.0 percent.
In addition to the district wide improvements in student performance on the exams, Langley said there were standouts among the schools tested.
Algebra I scores improved at Lockhart Middle School (96.5 percent to 97.0 percent), Sims Middle School (91.8 percent to 92.8 percent), and Union County High School (73.9 percent to 74.9).
Biology 1 scores improved at Jonesville Middle School (77.2 percent to 83.7 percent), Lockhart Middle School (82.6 percent to 90.2 percent), and Sims Middle School (89.8 to 90.5 percent).
English 1 scores also improved at Lockhart Middle School (83.1 percent to 88.5 percent), Sims Middle School (83.9 percent to 85.0 percent), and Union County High School (67.9 percent to 69.4 percent).
The Education Accountability Act of 1998 requires students take end of course examinations which count for 20 percent of their final grade in the Algebra 1/Math for the Technologies 2, English 1, Biology 1, and U.S. History and Constitution gateway courses. While gateway courses are normally taken at the high school level, students meeting criteria to take honors-level high school courses in the eighth grade also take the exams.
In addition to impacting individual student grades, end of course scores are also used to calculate district and school federal and state report cards.
Langley said the results of the 2012 end of course exams is a sign of the district’s continued progress toward improving student performance, efforts that she said are continuing.
“Our goal for end of course testing for the past two years has been to increase the overall mean score in each area as well as the percentage of students passing the tests with As, Bs, and Cs,” Langley said. “Math continues to be our area of strongest academic performance on end of course tests with nearly 58 percent of the students in the district taking the test scoring a C or better. That is an increase of eight points from last year.
“Teachers and administrators are working to achieve similar gains in the other subject areas,” she said. “Benchmark tests will be administered throughout the year as a strategy to assess student achievement and identify instructional gaps before students take end of course tests in the spring.”