Overall, students performed slightly better on the South Carolina College and Career Ready Assessments (SC READY) test in 2018 compared with 2017, but most students are still not meeting grade-level expectations.
SC READY is given to third- through eighth-grade students to test their knowledge of English language arts and math. The South Carolina Department of Education released the 2018 scores Tuesday morning, along with the South Carolina Palmetto Assessment of State Standards scores.
Students are scored by four categories on the SC READY test — “Does Not Meet,” “Approaches,” “Meets,” and “Exceeds” expectations.
With the exception of third-grade math, less than half of South Carolina students met or exceeded expectations. On average, one in four students landed in the lowest category in South Carolina for ELA and math.
With the exception of eighth-graders, scores increased slightly throughout the state from the previous year.
Scores also increased in Greenville County Schools, and students scored higher than the state average in every category.
In Greenville, about 65 percent of third-graders met or exceeded expectations on the math portion of the test compared with 56 percent statewide, while 55 percent made the benchmark in ELA compared with 45 percent statewide.
Average scores dropped in Greenville and statewide by eighth grade. In Greenville, 43 percent of eighth-graders made the benchmark in ELA compared with 39 percent statewide, while 42 percent made the benchmark in math compared with 37 percent statewide.
On Aug. 22, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative education policy organization, released a report listing South Carolina’s ELA standards as weak based on the state’s deviations from the Common Core.
Neil C. Robinson Jr., chairman of South Carolina’s Education Oversight Committee, said in a statement that the agency would review the standards because of the Fordham report.
“We agree with Superintendent Spearman that teachers and students need additional resources,” Robinson said. “I have asked for a review of the ELA standards, based on the results of this report. If there are foundational issues with the standards and the supporting documents provided to teachers, we have to act sooner rather than later. Stronger standards are better for our students.”
SC PASS scores in Greenville were mixed — the district saw increases in fourth-grade science and seventh-grade social studies from the previous year, but scores for sixth- and eighth-grade science and fifth-grade social studies decreased slightly.
Last year, the science and social studies tests for SC PASS were given to all students in fourth through eighth grades, but this year it was given only to every other grade level. Fourth-, sixth-, and eighth-grade students took the science portion of the test while fifth- and seventh-grade students took the social studies portion.
Jason McCreary, director of accountability and quality assurance with GCS, said the change was made because of a statewide and national push to reduce the number of standardized tests.
“They decided that they can still retain accountability in science and social studies and reduce testing,” McCreary said.
The district uses two programs to track data and provide professional development to teachers based on the scores — the programs allow the teachers to look at previous student scores and where they were weak in specific content areas, as well as the scores of their current students from last year.
“We look at that across grade levels, we look at it across strand areas, and we look at it within schools and even within classrooms in schools so that we can more narrow our focus,” McCreary said.
McCreary said ELA scores increased in the district in 36 elementary schools and 11 middle schools. Math scores increased in 43 elementary schools and 13 middle schools.
“When you have a majority of elementary and middle schools making improvements — and some are quite large, double digit percentage points — that’s what we’re looking for,” McCreary said. “It’s that continuous growth to push that average, continuing to make it more rigorous and improving.”
In November, the South Carolina Department of Education will release district and school report cards, which will be graded for the first time since 2014.
Source: Greenville County Schools
- Sterling School led the way in middle school scores in science with 99 percent of tested students meeting or exceeding expectations. Sterling School was also the middle school with the highest percentage of tested students (100 percent) scoring “Met” and “Exemplary” in social studies.
- Eighty-seven percent of fourth-graders at Tigerville and Augusta Circle Elementary Schools met or exceeded expectations in science.
- Tigerville Elementary also achieved the highest percentage of fifth-graders (95 percent) earning “Met” and “Exemplary” scores in social studies.