Schools in Horry and Georgetown counties showed some improvement from 2013 on their S.C. Education Oversight Committee report card ratings, but their absolute ratings for 2014 stayed the same.
Horry County Schools received a “good” rating on the 2014 EOC report card, and Georgetown County Schools scored an “excellent” – the highest rating given by the EOC.
“We obviously would have loved to been rated ‘excellent,’ but given the high stakes involved and the diversity of our student population, we certainly can be proud of a ‘good’ rating,” said Teal Harding, Horry County Schools spokeswoman.
In Horry County 83 percent of schools scored either “excellent” or “good” in 2014, which beats the 2013 number of just 78 percent.
The EOC’s report cards will not appear again until 2017 because the organization is merging its reports with the federal report card. The state still will receive federal report cards during the next two years, along with all the raw data incorporated in those reports.
“These report cards are a mash-up of lots of data that has been released in other forms,” Harding said. “But the standards are designed to continuously become more difficult, so earning a ‘good’ rating makes us proud.”
Georgetown County’s “excellent” rating was a “tremendous accomplishment” for the district, and Superintendent Randy Dozier said many people came together to bring the best out of students.
“This is the result that can happen when many people work together for a common goal,” Dozier said in a release.
The ratings are, from highest to lowest: excellent; good; average; below average; and at risk.
The EOC usually compares state and federal reports, but just for the districts and not for individual schools. Melanie Barton, executive director of the EOC, said there’s usually a difference in the ratings, since they don’t use the exact same standards.
“But what you’ve seen over time, at least in the state and federal report cards, is an improvement,” Barton said.
Barton said one of the biggest issues facing S.C. is the number of districts still scoring “below average.” Nine percent of students attend “below average” schools, and the EOC hopes new standards turn those schools onto the right track.
“We’re looking at how to turn these schools around,” Barton said. “That number should be zero.”
South Conway Elementary was commended for achieving a “good” rating, especially since it has a 93 percent poverty index.
“Anytime you can see the higher ratings when you’re dealing with schools in Title 1 areas,” Harding said, “that speaks volumes of what is happening inside that school to reduce or eliminate certain barriers to instruction.”
Georgetown was one of seven S.C. districts to earn “excellent” in both absolute ratings and growth ratings. Horry earned a “below average” growth rating.
“This achievement speaks as to how Georgetown County values the importance of a good education,” Dozier said.
South Carolina’s on-time graduation rate is 80.1 percent, an increase from 77.5 percent last year. In 2009 the on-time graduation rate was 73.7 percent.
Forty-two districts received an absolute rating of “excellent” – more than 50 percent – while seven earned a “good” rating and 26 earned an “average.” Four districts were marked “below average” and three were “at risk,” which is an improvement from 2009 when 21 were “at risk.”
The implementation of Common Core standards has caused some anxiety in the classroom, Barton said, so there’s a great need for unchanging test measures. By merging state and federal report cards, schools and districts will have a better grasp on how to improve student learning.
“We need to get away from a lot of uncertainty, because I think it impacts how educators work in the classroom,” Barton said. “We need some certainty.”