UNION — The graduate rate at Union County High School increased in 2012 with the female graduation rate reaching nearly 90 percent.
Cindy Langley, director of Secondary Education for the Union County School District, announced Wednesday that, according to the State Department of Education, the graduation rate for females at UCHS jumped 14 percent from 75 percent in 2011 to 89 percent in 2012.
Langley said the overall graduation rate at UCHS increased by more than seven percent from 72.87 percent in 2011 to 79.32 percent in 2012.
The male graduation rate, however, decreased slightly from 70.63 percent to 70.06 percent.
Statewide, the graduation rate increased from 73.6 percent in 2011 to 74.9 percent in 2012.
In addition to the improvement in the graduation rate, Langley said state ratings at Buffalo and Foster Park elementary schools and at Lockhart and Sims middle schools improved on the South Carolina Annual School and District Report Cards. Langley said this was the second year that all schools in Union County as well as the district either met or exceeded the expected Absolute rating of average. She said this was an indication that the district’s students are meeting state standards of progress.
Schools receive Absolute and Growth ratings and Langley said that both ratings improved from average to good at Buffalo Elementary and Lockhart Middle; Foster Park maintained its Absolute rating of good while increasing its Growth rating from average to excellent; Sims Middle maintained its Absolute rating of average while increasing its Growth rating to good.
Langley said the other schools and the district maintained their Absolute and Growth ratings from the previous year Jonesville Elementary and Jonesville Middle, Lockhart Elementary, and Monarch Elementary school each having an Absolute rating and a Growth rating of average.
UCHS had an Absolute rating of average with a Growth rating of below average while the Absolute rating for the district was average with a Growth rating of good. She said the Growth ratings for both the district and Foster Park were raised one level because of substantial improvement in the achievement of historically underachieving groups of students.
“We have so many areas of growth to celebrate as a district,” Langley said. “Four schools plus the district had growth ratings of Good or Excellent, three schools had absolute ratings of Good, and the graduation rate jumped to just under 80 percent with females leading the way to excellence. The results on the state report cards demonstrate the high level of expectations that teachers and administrators across the district have established for student achievement.”
Dr. Kristi Woodall, district superintendent, also praised the gains made by the schools and the district.
“We are very proud of the achievement of our students and appreciate the commitment of our teachers,” Woodall said. “We made gains in a number of areas, and our high school is to be commended for our increase in graduation rate — especially with female success. Our principals will continue to focus on the needs of individual students for overall growth.”
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 can 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 2012 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.