PICKENS — The School District of Pickens County’s performance on SC PASS testing remained strong compared to the rest of the South Carolina in 2014, but did not improve on district scores from the previous year.
A higher percentage of SDPC students met proficiency compared the state average in 28 of 30 grades and subject areas. However, the rate of SDPC students meeting proficiency declined in 23 of 30 grades and subject areas compared to the district’s performance last year. Most of the district’s declines in performance mirrored similar declines across the state.
“Last year, the questions on the SC PASS test were aligned not just to previous South Carolina standards, but also to the Common Core standards in English and Math,” said Dr. Danny Merck, superintendent. “Because of that change, scores from 2013 and 2014 are not a direct apples-to-apples comparison. That will continue to be the case as we move to new standards and assessments over the next two years. Through it all, we will still focus on continuous improvement in instruction.”
One area of improvement was in 8th grade, where SDPC students posted gains in English, Math, Science, and Writing, while 8th graders statewide showed decline in every subject area.
“We’re very pleased with the improvements in 8th grade. That was a focus in our middle schools after a decline last year. Our principals and teachers looked at individual student data to develop a plan for improvement,” said Sharon Huff, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction. “We also like to look at the performance of groups of students as they move from one grade-level to the next. We’ve found that even in some cases where a group was down from the previous class’s scores, they showed growth in their own performance. Our principals have already started to look at areas to focus on in the coming year.”
Two areas of concern are third grade and sixth grade. Declines in those grades were generally steeper than the state-wide trend.
Complete scores for each grade level are posted on the SC Department of Education website.