top of page

School Board Gets Update on District Test Scores

Daniel Prince

District shows gains in ELA and math, declines in science scores

Monday night’s school board meeting had three major areas of focus—standardized test scores, facilities, and athletics. In today’s news, we’ll focus on the test scores and bring you more on the other areas in future newscasts. Dr. Lacresha Byrd updated the board on the district’s enrollment numbers and test scores. She said the enrollment figures change day-to-day, but as of when the report was printed, there were 3862 students in the district. She noted that she looked at the figures at the end of the day yesterday, and there were 3828 students, 34 fewer. In the report she gave the board, the numbers were broken down by school, race, and gender, as well as by class period for the middle and high schools. She said the decrease in students came from the high school, where the report showed 1140 enrolled, but the number had since dropped by 42 students since then. She said she did not know whether those were dropping out, moving to other districts or states, going to a virtual school outside the district, or being home schooled. She said district staff work hard to identify the students and find out where they go, particularly if they are under the age of 17. Superintendent Joey Haney said it is far easier to find students switching from one public school to another, as those schools almost always send records requests, but he said some home school associations don’t bother requesting records, and it’s not always easy to find out what happened.

Dr. Byrd presented the SC Ready and SC PASS standardized test results for the district. WBCU News reported on those scores when they were released by the SC Department of Education earlier this month. She said the district saw gains in ELA and math since last year, with students scoring 5.25% higher in ELA and 2.5% higher in math. Science scores declined by 2.05%. She said the district saw the greatest gains in 5th grade, with 14.5% gains in ELA and 13.9% gains in math. The greatest decline was in 6th-grade science, with scores declining by 10%. She said a number of schools saw 10% gains. Jonesville Elementary-Middle School saw such gains in grades 3, 4, and 8 in ELA. Buffalo Elementary saw gains for 5th grade. Foster Park saw 10% gains in 3rd grade ELA and 5th grade math. Monarch saw big gains in 4th and 5th grade math and 5th grade ELA. She noted the state Department of Education will release the school report cards on October 13, and at the next meeting, she will share the end of course exam data and graduation rate.

Board members had questions about the low test scores for 6th grade across the district. Byrd said it is a tough transitional year. She noted that Sims had a high number of students with individualized education plans, or IEPs, and there were a lot of young teachers, as well. She said there were some behavior management issues at the school, as well, and for this year, they have hired more experienced teachers, brought in more structure, and they don’t have as many inclusion students in one classroom, and she said she hopes all that will be reflected in test scores. Dr. All praised the high scores at Monarch and lamented the lower scores elsewhere and expressed the hope that other schools could perhaps do what they are doing. Dr. Byrd noted that students have to be met where they are, and many are showing improvements and growth, but it is still not up to grade level.

Dr. Fran Adams, principal at Foster Park Elementary, said they have made a change to how interventions are done at the school. The interventionists have a designated block of time that they pull the students they help during the day, and it is no longer during the regular classroom instructional time, as it had been in the past. She said that way, the students are receiving the more individualized help they need in addition to the classroom instruction. The students are being selected for help by the interventionists based on their MAP scores.

Byrd said the district is happy to see the increases they have seen, and they will continue to pick apart the data and identify areas that need more help and do all they can to help those students succeed.

no audio
00:00 / 01:04
bottom of page