SC school report cards highlight educational successes, shortcomings

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Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 10:16 AM EDT
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PROSPERITY, S.C. (WIS) - State education officials released 2022 school report cards Monday, highlighting the state’s educational successes and shortcomings.

This is the first time that report cards have been released with ratings since 2019.

The South Carolina Department of Education and the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee (EOC) made the announcement at Prosperity-Rikard Elementary School in Newberry County, one of a minority of elementary schools to receive the highest rating on its report card.

All elementary, middle, and high schools receive rankings on a 100-point scale, which takes into account things like test scores, student progress, and graduation rate for high schools.

EOC Executive Director Matthew Ferguson said, “These results beat all expectations of what was...
EOC Executive Director Matthew Ferguson said, “These results beat all expectations of what was thought possible while living through the COVID disruptions.”(SC Department of Education)

“I commend the efforts of South Carolina’s teachers and educators and students,” South Carolina Education Oversight Committee Executive Director Matthew Ferguson said. “These results beat all expectations of what we thought were possible while living through COVID disruptions.”

Prior to the pandemic, 20.4 percent of all schools received an overall excellent rating on their report cards, which is the highest grouping.

The overall average stayed about the same in 2022 at 20.6 percent.

The number of high schools showing excellent ratings dropped by almost 10 points in the same time span, from 26 percent to 16.7 percent.

In 2022, the state’s graduation rate was 83.8 percent, a record high.

However, fewer than one in three students who graduated this year were considered both college and career ready.

“We’re graduating more students than we ever have as a state, which is a worthy goal, we must continually ourselves with what skills are they graduating with?” Ferguson said. “Because 65 percent of all jobs require post-secondary education, training, or certification.

Another area of focus for South Carolina’s educators moving forward will be improving math scores.

This year, fewer than 40 percent of students met or exceeded expectations on the SC Ready test.

Staff at Prosperity-Rikard are working to address this with a full-time math interventionist on staff, among other things.

“We have so many great programs and many of us stay after school with our children and trying to pull them forward,” Eiko Hendrix, a fourth-grade teacher at Prosperity-Rikard said. “When you’re able to meet with them one on one, you can get more out of them and focus on just that one skill.”

According to the EOC, more than half of Prosperity-Rikard’s students are on their way to achieving grade-level proficiency and preparedness for college and careers.

State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said this school, located in a rural part of the state, is proof that if dedicated teachers and staff meet students where they are, the students will reach their full potential.

The South Carolina Department of Education devotes resources to schools that are struggling to attain good rankings, Spearman said.

This includes professional development for teachers and full-time coaches for students in subject areas of concern.

“We’re giving this very intense professional development to those teachers, and we’re already beginning to see signs of improvement in those schools,” Spearman said. “That will continue. I’m sure the next State Superintendent will follow that, and I hope will bring even more ideas to the table.”

Report cards also measured school climate for the first time. This metric uses results from teacher and parent surveys to give a better idea of safety, working conditions, and the social-physical environment within each school.

Spearman said despite the challenges, she is proud of how teachers, families, and students responded to the uncertainties of the pandemic.

“Certainly we’ve got a lot of work to do, and I think throughout the pandemic I said to parents and to the public, ‘Look, we’re just trying to survive and do the best we can,’” Spearman said “And I think these results today show that. We’ve done a lot, we did the best we could and now we’ve got focus areas that we know we have to work on.”

Full report card results for each district and school can be viewed here.

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