By HEATHER RUPPE
This report card, or scorecard, from the S.C. Department of Education comes with a disclaimer that this reflects the 2020 school year, which is when the COVID-19 pandemic began and the Colleton County School District began remote learning. Many scores on this report card, including student attendance, was negatively impacted because of the pandemic.
The S.C. Department of Education has released its annual report cards of all school districts in the Palmetto State and, in most cases, Colleton’s scores are less than the state average.
In Language Arts (reading and writing), Colleton has an overall student performance of 20.1 percent, compared to the state average of 42.6 percent.
In math, Colleton has a district score of 11 percent, compared to the state average of 37.3 percent.
In English, Colleton County has a 45.1 percent score, compared to the overall state average of 63 percent.
In algebra, Colleton has a report card rating of 22.3 percent, compared to the state average of 46.8 percent.
The district’s scores come with knowing a U.S. Department of Education waiver of all federal accountability requirements, giving school districts flexibility in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, national and state education leaders are asking that districts’ report cards for 2020 not be compared to prior years.
Colleton also had a 75 percent graduation rate from high school.
The state average for high school graduation is 83.3 percent.
Lastly, the report card states that the Colleton County School District has a student population of 5,138 students. These scores reflect 2021 spring testing assessments of these students
“The state assessment results reflected on the 2021 report cards confirm the alarming trends we have observed from locally administered formative assessments throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “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.
“Fortunately, every school and district has been equipped with the tools to track and respond to unfinished learning long before the release of these results and have already begun to deploy resources and programs to address individual student needs and overall academic achievement,” she said, in a written statement.
Leaders with the Colleton County School District could not be reached for comment about the local report card, as of early press deadlines this week due to the Labor Day Holiday.
The 2021 report cards incorporate South Carolina’s 2021 state assessment results including the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (SCPASS) and the South Carolina College-and Career-Ready (SC READY) examinations given in the elementary and middle school grade levels, the End-of-Course Examination Program (EOCEP) given at the high school level, the Ready to Work (R2W) career readiness assessment administered to 11th grade students, and ACCESS for ELLs, an assessment of English language proficiency for grades K-12.
According to information provided by the state education department, South Carolina saw an overall decline in overall state assessment participation rates, especially when compared to 2018-2019 school year. “While these sharp declines in student achievement will be discouraging to many, for our educators this makes them more determined than ever to restore what our students are capable of when in the classroom full time,” said David Mathis, SCDE’s Deputy Superintendent of College and Career Readiness. “Preliminary data prepared us for what was coming, and thanks to federal funds, our districts will now have access to resources unlike ever before that we believe will help produce historic achievement for our students. Districts developed Academic Recovery Plans after carefully analyzing assessment results and have actionable goals and strategies in place designed to increase student achievement.”
South Carolina has received a total of $3.3 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funding, with all school districts in the state being given cash to help implement a better learning plan for students amid the pandemic.