The state’s public school students generally performed better on the South Carolina’s Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS) tests, while four out of five high school students passed the state’s high school exit examination on their first try. According to the state education department, achievement gaps narrowed in most grades and subject areas on both assessments.
This is the first year that schools and districts were awarded letter grades for their performance. South Carolina is using its own report card-type assessment, replacing the measurements of No Child Left Behind (also known as AYP).
State Education Superintendent Mick Zais, in a statewide press conference, said, “The new federal report card tells students, parents, schools, and the public how schools are performing in a clear and easily understood system of letter grades. Students have received letter grades on their report cards for decades; schools and school districts should be held to the same level of accountability and transparency.”
And schools scored better with the new assessment, though the teaching method and content did not change in the past year.
Under the former federal AYP standard, only 23 percent of schools in South Carolina were meeting standard. Using the letter grade, 84 percent met standard.
“Under former federal system, a school that missed one performance objective was ranked failing,” says Zais. “And that’s not fair to the hardworking professionals in our schools, certainly was confusing to the parents and the public.”
To view scores:
Federal Accountability – http://ed.sc.gov/data/esea/
AUDIO: Zais speech on 2012 state scores (11:07)