Lower numbers seen in district, state expected following pandemic-related learning loss
The South Carolina Department of Education released report cards for schools, districts, and the state yesterday. The report cards reflect the 2020-2021 school year, including results from state assessments given last spring, the first such assessments during the pandemic.
State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman stated the results confirm the alarming trends the state has seen from local tests given during the pandemic. She said, “These achievement gaps, particularly amongst our youngest learners, demonstrate just how much learning has been disrupted and how important it is for every student to be face to face with their teacher every day.” She said schools and districts have been given the tools to track and respond to these learning gaps long before the report cards came out.
Fewer students took state assessments last year than in 2018-2019, because the federal Department of Education granted flexibility in administering the tests, and families who determined it was unsafe to attend school for the sole purpose of taking a test were not penalized.
Statewide, 26.8% of students enrolling in kindergarten were deemed “kindergarten ready”. More than half of the state’s first and second graders were deemed on track for success in ELA and math for the following year. 42.6% scored met or exceeding on the SC Ready English Language Arts test, and 37.3% scored met or exceeding in math. 63% scored a C or higher on the English 1 end of course exam, while only 46.8% scored a C or higher in Algebra 1. The statewide graduation rate improved to 83.3% this year.
For the Union County School District, only 10.1% of students enrolling in kindergarten were deemed kindergarten ready. Fewer than 30% of the district’s first-grade students were deemed to be on track for success in ELA and math the next year. 18.2% of second graders are on track for success in math in third grade; however, nearly 1/3 are on track for success in ELA. 27% scored met or exceeding in the SC Ready ELA test, and 22% scored met or exceeding in math. 37.8% scored a C or higher on the English 1 end of course exam, while 26.2% scored a C or higher in Algebra 1. The district’s graduation rate fell this year to 70.8%, while the dropout rate increased from 3.8 to 4.6.
The numbers are low and concerning, but Spearman said, “We believe these results are an anomaly and we can best change that by ensuring every school remains open and is a safe environment for our students to learn and our teachers to educate them.”
We’ll break down the local numbers more in the coming days, but if you’d like to see the school report cards, they are available at screportcards.com.