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District test scores down, still ahead of state in post-pandemic recovery

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From staff reports

Last week, the South Carolina Department of Education released the 2021-2022 school year results for the South Carolina Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (SCPASS) in Science and the South Carolina College- and Career-Ready Assessments (SC READY) examinations in English Language Arts and Mathematics given in the elementary and middle school grade levels, and assessment data shows that Beaufort County School District (BCSD) is experiencing a period of academic recovery from the pandemic.

“While recognizing that there is still room to grow, it is important to note that in all grades but one, English Language Arts scores are the highest in our district’s history since the inception of SC Ready in 2016,” Superintendent Frank Rodriguez said in a news release.

BCSD’s English Language Arts scores are equal to or greater than the state in all grade levels. The district’s 2022 English Language Arts scores are greater than 2019 pre-pandemic scores in all grades, except 7th grade, which is still showing growth.

“The return to pre-pandemic scores in English Language Arts is due, in large part, to the sense of urgency educators felt and the willingness of educators and lawmakers to act and implement support during and post pandemic,” State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said.

Mathematics and Science scores for BCSD are also equal to or greater than the state in all grade levels. Although 2022 Mathematics and Science scores have not yet reached the pre-pandemic levels of proficiency of 2019, each grade level has increased over 2021.

SC READY and SCPASS testing for 2020 was suspended due to COVID-19 state mandated school closures.

“Even though we have outperformed the state average on all fronts, we still have progress that needs to be made especially in mathematics and science,” Rodriguez said. “Fortunately, we have initiatives in place to move this work forward.”

“BCSD has our MedTech7 magnet school programming, consistent mathematical discourse in alignment with state standards, and increased collaborative efforts among teachers, numeracy coaches, and subject content experts to aid in continuity of instruction,” BCSD Chief Instructional Services Officer Mary Stratos said. “These supports serve to build teacher capacity and foster an increased use of formative assessment to drive teaching and learning.”

Spearman said the overall state results confirm the impacts and disruptions caused by the pandemic and the fact that we must continue to support students and educators during recovery. “Much more will need to be done to reach our high standards and goals for the students of South Carolina, and it will take the combined efforts of educators, parents, and other stakeholders as we move forward.”

“We have always said that academic recovery from the pandemic will be a multi-year process,” Rodriguez said. “Although we still have work to do, our students are headed in the right direction many thanks to the dedication of our staff, community partners, and parents.”

State, school district, and school level data for the SC PASS and SC READY assessments can be accessed by visiting https://bit.ly/3QWBBZT for SC PASS and https://bit.ly/3xmy5km for SC READY.

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