August 6, 2014

PASS results: York, Chester & Lancaster scores mimic statewide trends

Some local school districts didn’t show major improvements while others excelled on state tests.

Students in York, Chester and Lancaster county schools produced some gains and declines on the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards test, according to state data.

Across the state, the number of students scoring “met” or “exemplary” on the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards test fell, nearly across the board from 2013 to 2014, data show.

That trend was reflected locally in districts such as Rock Hill and York, where student scores showed more declines than gains.

But while it may seem easy to judge a school or a district by its test scores, Harriet Jaworowski, associate superintendent for instruction and accountability in the Rock Hill school district, said it’s important to remember that what people can see online through the Department of Education is just a collection of raw data.

“These are just pieces of information,” she said. “And it’s a lot of information that has to be digested.”

Rock Hill’s scores this year indicate students across the district are strong in social studies and in reading, because the two subject areas are so closely linked, Jaworowski said. Between 66.1 percent and 83.1 percent of students in third through eighth grades scored “met” or “exemplary” in social studies.

In contrast, she said, the scores demonstrate the district has weaknesses in science, where 73.3 percent or less of students met the standard on that test. This weakness in science is found throughout the state.

Clover and Fort Mill school districts had impressive showings, with more than 80 percent of students scoring “met” or “exemplary” in every grade level on every subject. Less than 6 percent of Clover sixth-graders and fourth-graders and less than 4 percent of Fort Mill fourth-graders scored “not met” on the social studies test.

Compared to last year’s data, the Chester school district showed gains in a few categories. More than 72 percent of Chester’s third-graders scored “met” or “exemplary” in writing, compared to just 54.4 percent last year, and 65.6 percent scored above “not met” in math, compared to 54.3 percent last year.

Districts now have the task of analyzing data on a deeper level.

District officials will break down the data by schools, classes and even individual students to try to identify what’s working and what isn’t and make adjustments to curriculum and instruction.

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