PASS scores paint dim picture

  • Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Only a small majority of Georgetown County School District students are meeting and exceeding expectations in all subjects, recently release standardized test scores reveal.

Results of the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS) test scores show a decline in South Carolina test scores overall.

The assessments test third through eighth graders in writing, language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.

In the state, average percentages of students tested who “met” the standard or scored “exemplary” are: 72.4 to 80.8 in writing; 67.3 to 80.1 in language arts; 67.7 to 75.5 in math; 63.5 to 73.5 in science; and 67.4 to 83.7 in social studies.

On average, Georgetown County School District scored similarly to the state, although slightly below the state level in a few subjects.

The school district percentage ranges are: 64.3 to 79.4 in writing; 61.8 to 79.1 in language arts; 65.5 to 73.4 in math; 57.9 to 66.5 in science; and 60.6 to 80.9 in social studies.

Most of the schools mimic the district-wide results, but a few individual schools’ scores standout.

At Browns Ferry Elementary School, scores were significantly higher than the district average in writing, 66.7 to 88.9, and social studies, 69.7 to 85.7, but much lower in other subjects, most notably in science, 28.6 to 45.5.

Carvers Bay Middle School scored lower than average in writing, language arts and math, but about average in social studies and had a wide range of science scores, from 37.9 to 77.1.

Coastal Montessori Charter School scored well above average, with percentages into the 90s, in writing, language arts and math.

Overall, Kensington Elementary School tested higher than district averages in all subjects, particularly writing, which ranged from 84.2 to 90.7.

Despite Pleasant Hill Elementary’s high scores in math, the science scores are below average, ranging from 39.1 to 69.6.

Rosemary Middle performed below average in all subjects, with percentages in the 40s and 50s, except for scores in social studies that were on-par with the rest of the district.

Waccamaw Elementary, Intermediate and Middle performed above average in all subjects, although Waccamaw Elementary only tested third graders.

McDonald Elementary performed particularly low in math, 53.3 to 54.7, and science, 38.5 to 64.7.

“Georgetown County Schools mirrored the state in areas of growth and areas which will be strengthened by the Read to Succeed Legislation as well as additional reading coaches in all of our elementary schools,” said Patti Hammel, the district’s executive director for student performance and federal programs.

According to a statement from the S.C. Education Oversight Committee, the organization was disappointed with lower scores but did anticipate a decrease due to Common Core.

“States that have implemented Common Core State Standards and assessments have seen a decline in results due to the increased rigor of the standards and assessments,” it states.

Hammel echoed the statement.

“As we moved into the ‘bridge’ year with the Common Core State Standards and the revision of the ELA/mathematics standards, we certainly noted that the rigorous curriculum brought a need of more blended learning for students.”

She said the school district is looking forward to improving the scores in the 2014-2015 school year.

“We saw growth in science as we added only two science coaches for the district. The support proved to be greatly beneficial. We look forward to great gains this year. Our teachers, students and support staff worked very diligently and will continue to make progress.”

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