After several years of gains on two key standardized tests, the Beaufort County School District's progress stalled last school year, according to scores released Friday.
The Palmetto Assessment of State Standards tests students in grades three through eight in five categories -- writing, English language arts, math, science and social studies. Beaufort County's public school students outperformed the state average in writing and math but fell below in the other three categories.
Compared with last year's scores, the percentage of Beaufort County students meeting or exceeding standards decreased in three categories: English language arts, math and science.
Performance on another test also declined.
The High School Assessment Program, or HSAP, tests sophomores in English and math. For the 2013-14 school year, the percentage of Beaufort County students who met the test's standards exceeded the state average in both categories. However, the percentage of students doing so dipped slightly in both categories compared with the previous year.
Students once had to pass both sections of the HSAP to earn a diploma, but the test has been discontinued. The 2013-14 school year will be the last in which it's administered.
PASS also will be dropped. The state is developing new academic standards and working to determine a new assessment to test them.
Beaufort County district spokesman Jim Foster declined to comment on the district's performance because school officials had just learned of the results.
The S.C. Department of Education posted the scores to its website Friday but gave no immediate notice to the media or districts that the information was available, as it typically has in the past.
Department of Education spokesman Dino Teppara said Monday that the agency will issue a news release Wednesday about the scores.
However, that release will not include the letter grades that are assigned to districts and schools, as determined by the HSAP and PASS scores. Those grades, which have been made available in August in past years, are used for federal accountability purposes.
This year, the grades will be released in mid-October, Teppara said. The additional time will allow the state to include data from any tests that were administered over the summer, which it has been unable to do in recent years with the earlier deadline, he added.
After Beaufort County officials gain a better understanding of the data, they will provide targeted support to struggling schools and students, Foster said.
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- Beaufort County students continue gains on standarized tests, Aug. 1, 2013
- Zais pulls SC out of Smarter Balanced testing group: Unclear what students will take next spring to replace PASS, April 14, 2014
- Hundreds of former Beaufort County students could get diplomas despite failing exit exam, June 1, 2014
- Series: Standardized testing causes big time collateral damage, March 29, 2014