MYRTLE BEACH — Students at Horry County Schools topped those statewide in the S.C. End-of-Course Examination Program, with higher average scores in three of four subjects and higher passage rates in all subjects, according to data released Tuesday by the S.C. Department of Education.
State EOC exams are given in middle and high school in the four core content areas of algebra, biology, English and U.S. history and the Constitution. Test results count for 20 percent of each student’s final grade in a course, and they are used as a performance measure on state report cards.
The average score for Horry County students in algebra was 83.8, down slightly from 84.1 in 2012, with a passage rate of 89.4 percent. Average scores and passage rates in the remaining subjects were higher than in 2012: 84.3 in biology, up from 81.8 with a passage rate of 85.3 percent; 80 in English, up from 79.4, with a passage rate of 83.2 percent; and 75.6 in U.S. history and the Constitution, up from 74.1, with a passage rate of 72.8 percent.
“I think all the hard work we’ve put into literacy has paid off,” said Velna Allen, HCS executive director for high schools, who said improvements in literacy and more rigorous curriculum have benefits that spill over into other subjects, such as biology and history.
The district now will begin to put more concentration on mathematics, while continuing its literacy efforts, Allen said.
Passage rates for students statewide rose in all subject areas, but average scores declined slightly in English and Algebra.
Average scores in the state were: 80.6 in algebra, down from 81 in 2012; 81.3 in biology, up from 80.8 last year; 77.9 in English, down from 78.2 last year; and 72.7 in U.S. history and the Constitution, up from 71.2 last year.
The state’s passage rates were: 82.8 percent in algebra, up from 81.7 percent in 2012; 78.2 percent in biology, up from 76.3 percent last year; 77.2 percent in English, up from 74 percent last year; and 60.6 percent in U.S. history and the Constitution, up from 52.8 percent last year.
“Reading must continue to be the focus of our schools as we work to improve student outcomes,” said S.C. Superintendent Mick Zais, noting the decline in the state’s average score in English. “If a student has difficulty reading, it will negatively affect his or her ability to learn any subject material.”
Georgetown County students saw a gain in biology, with an average score of 79.7, up from 77.8 in 2012, but the average score dropped in algebra to 78.9 from 80 last year. Average scores remained the same in English, at 77.2, and in U.S. history and the Constitution, 70. Passage rates were 80.6 percent for algebra, 78.2 percent for biology, 76.4 percent for English and 52.5 percent for U.S. history and the Constitution.
Contact VICKI GROOMS at 443-2401 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_VickiGrooms.