Accountability results are in for South Carolina School Districts and overall in Fairfield the District received a B overall rating, meaning that its schools’ total performance exceeds state expectations.
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act federal accountability letter grades for schools and school districts are coming from a new system because of the No Child Left Behind Waiver South Carolina obtained under South Carolina School Superintendent Dr. Mick Zais.
Some key components of the waiver request included:
• A new system of federal accountability that awards letter grades to schools and school districts based upon student achievement in English-language Arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and high school graduation rates.
• Increased transparency of student achievement by reporting student subgroup performance.
• The elimination of the all-or-nothing approach of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and giving schools and school districts credit for progress and student growth.
• The establishment of a new educator evaluation system for full implementation in 2014-2015 that incorporates measures of student growth and student achievement as a component.
Under these revised standards, the Fairfield Magnet School for Math and Science received an A rating, as did Fairfield Middle School and Kelly Miller Elementary.
McCrorey Liston Elementary received a B rating.
Superintendent J.R. Green was proud of the schools’ performances.
“Fairfield Middle has a very dynamic principal in Mrs. (Leevette) Malloy,” Green said. “That school was recognized as a priority school about three years ago by the State Department of Education and she has continuously moved the school forward in terms of achievement.”
Green expressed optimism about the system in place to result in middle school student performance growth each year.
With regard to Fairfield Central High School, Green noted that the school was making progress under the Adequate Yearly Progress evaluating system in 2011 when it received an “average” rating, a trend of improvement since 2009.
He noted that different components are used in the evaluations which result in both these federal report cards for schools and the state report cards for schools, which have not yet been released.
Green reiterated that all district personnel will remain dedicated to improving the quality of education provided to students in Fairfield County.
“At minimum we would like to see all our schools recognized as exceeding expectations. We will devote increased attention to the high school and to Fairfield Elementary School,” he said.
The high school received an F rating while Fairfield Elementary received a D rating.
Green noted that Fairfield Elementary has seen growth in the past year and that he had confidence the school’s principal Dr. Tammy F. Martin would continue to move it forward.
Zais said letter grades provide the public a transparent and accurate reflection of current levels of student achievement and improvement.
Under this new system, schools will have more data than ever before on student performance, including areas of strength and areas needing improvement.
“The new federal report card tells students, parents, schools, and the public how schools are performing in a clear and easily understood system of letter grades,” Zais said.
Students have received letter grades on their report cards for decades; schools and school districts should be held to the same level of accountability and transparency.”
The letter grade system replaces Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), which required a school to meet every performance objective.
Schools were designated either “Met” AYP or “Not Met” AYP. A school missing just one objective was given the designation of “Not Met” by federal law, the same designation as a school missing multiple objectives.
Last year 23.5 percent of schools met AYP, and many failed to meet AYP because they missed only one or two objectives. Last year, only one school district in the entire state met AYP.
Using letter grades, the new federal report card shows 84 percent of schools met the state’s expectation, which is a grade of “C” or better.
In addition to the federal standards for evaluating schools the High School Assessment Program Test Scores were issued for Fairfield Central High School. 85.9 percent of students met or exceeded the competence standard for English and Language Arts, however in mathematics just 67.6 percent of students met or exceeded competence standards.
Statewide 80.1 percent of students passed both sections, ELA and Mathematics, on their first attempt at the examination.
Scores also were issued for the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS) for grades third through eighth. The following subject areas are tested: English-language arts, mathematics, science, social studies and writing (only in grades fifth and eighth because of legislation).
District wide, 55.5 percent of fifth graders and 61.9 percent of eighth graders score met or exemplary in writing. In English/language arts met, or exemplary, results were earned by 75.3 percent of third graders, 64.5 percent of fourth graders, 53 percent of fifth graders, 59 percent of sixth graders, 65.1 percent of seventh graders and 62.2 percent of eighth graders. In Mathematics met, or exemplary, scores were earned by 62.6 percent of third graders, 67.7 percent of fourth graders, 56.6 percent of fifth graders, 64.7 percent of sixth graders, 58.1 percent of seventh graders and 56.2 percent of eighth graders. In Social Studies met, or exemplary, scores were earned by 56.8 percent of third graders, 70.5 percent of fourth graders, 44.9 percent of fifth graders, 65.3 percent of sixth graders, 75.5 percent of seventh graders and 62.1 percent of eight graders. In Science met, or exemplary, PASS scores were earned by 43.6 percent of third graders, 64.1 percent of fourth graders, 52.7 percent of fifth graders, 64.3 percent of sixth graders, 60.3 percent of seventh graders and 68.4 percent of eight graders.
Overall, larger percentages of public school students met state standards on PASS.
Zais said this year’s results were encouraging and that educators and students should be congratulated. In English-Language Arts, the mean scale score increased in every grade and the percentage of students demonstrating “Exemplary” proficiency increased in all grades except one.
“Our focus must always be on what happens in the classroom between a teacher and students,” Zais said. “Credit for these results belongs to the hard work of students, teachers, and parents across South Carolina. Student achievement should continue to increase if we encourage policies that personalize and customize education for every child.”