Fewer SC schools meet education targets - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Fewer SC schools meet education targets

(Columbia) October 6, 2006 - New numbers show SC's public schools aren't making the grade, instead they're failing to meet federal academic achievement goals related to the No Child Left Behind act.

The state Education Department says 38 percent of South Carolina's public schools met all of their 2006 goals. That's down from 47 percent last year. None of the state's 85 school districts met the federal goals.

Meeting the goals is known as making "adequate yearly progress" or AYP.

The rating determines which schools must allow parents to transfer their children to another public school and which schools must provide tutoring options for struggling students.

This year, 52 additional schools must offer transfers because they missed AYP goals for a second consecutive year. Statewide, 185 schools must now offer transfers.

South Carolina's 2006 federal AYP ratings slide
For 2006, 38 percent of South Carolina's public schools (416 schools) met all of their AYP targets, down from 47 percent (508 schools) last year.  Two-thirds of the 669 schools not meeting AYP (454 schools) fell just short by missing 1-5 goals.  Thirteen percent (90 schools) missed by just one goal, and missing one category means the entire school doesn't make AYP.

Eight of South Carolina's 29 primary schools met AYP (28 percent); 360 of 840 elementary and middle schools met AYP (43 percent); and 49 of 198 high schools met AYP (25 percent).  

Inez Tenenbaum said the drop in the number of high schools meeting AYP (from 70 in 2005 to 49 in 2006) was due to high school performance targets increasing dramatically from the previous year.  Fifty percent of students had to score Proficient in math compared to 30 percent in 2005, and 52.3 percent of students had to score Proficient in English Language Arts compared to 33 percent in 2005.

The same effect was observed with school districts. None of the state's 85 school districts made AYP, down from 17 last year. School districts' performance targets rose from 19.9 percent of students scoring Proficient in math last year to 42.7 percent scoring Proficient this year, and from 24 percent of students scoring Proficient in English Language Arts last year to 45.8 percent this year.

Thirteen districts (15 percent) fell just short by missing 1-5 goals.  Twenty-one districts (31 percent) missed by just one goal.

For elementary and middle schools, the federal government said that South Carolina could no longer count the test participation of more than 6,000 special education students who took "off-grade-level" PACT tests under the Individualized Education Programs approved by their teachers and parents.  The government said that special education students who took PACT tests at levels lower than their actual grades must count as "not tested" for purposes of their schools meeting AYP.

Because NCLB mandates that schools test at least 95 percent of their students, the government's ruling meant that 63 South Carolina elementary and middle schools did not make AYP in 2006 because they tested more than five percent of their students off grade level.  Those 63 schools accounted for nearly all of South Carolina's decrease in the numbers of elementary and middle schools making AYP (427 in 2005, 360 in 2006).

As a whole, South Carolina made 26 of its 37 goals and so fell short of meeting AYP.
Fifty-two additional schools will offer school choice this school year because they did not meet all of their federal AYP targets for a second consecutive year.  The total number of schools offering choice for this year will be 185 schools, up from 167 last year (some schools came off the list from last year).  At those 167 schools, 925 of the 87,000 students eligible for NCLB transfers last school year actually changed schools.

Updated 9:24am by Bryce Mursch

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