Beaufort County School District officials say the decline in last school year's standardized test scores, released last week, is minimal compared to the long-term gains students have made over the years.
The district's performance dropped slightly on both the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards and the High School Assessment Program for 2013-14, according to S.C. Department of Education data. Those declines were the first the county has seen after several years of improvement.
District officials noted scores were down statewide, and at rates higher than in Beaufort County's public schools.
"Educators generally look at long-term trend data rather than year-to-year fluctuations," superintendent Jeff Moss said in a news release. "Over the last few years, our student performance has improved significantly, and our challenge now is to analyze these new data and look for places where we can target our efforts and stay on an upward track."
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.
Moss said that some of the statewide declines in PASS performance this year were expected because the math and English tests included more rigorous material than the previous years'.
Lower scores also were expected on the High School Assessment Program, which students have had to pass to earn a diploma. The exit exam, which tests students in English and math, was dropped after the 2013-14 school year. First-time test takers this past year knew it was being eliminated and that they would not need to meet that requirement, Moss said.
PASS also will be dropped. The state is developing new academic standards and a new assessment to test them.
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- Beaufort County progress on standardized tests stalls, August 4, 2014
- Beaufort County students continue gains on standardized tests, August 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
- Special project: Standardized testing causes big time collateral damage, March 29, 2014