Most area high schools show improvement on state exam

'Encouraging' gains

More area high school students passed the state exit exam on their first try this year than in 2006, according to results released Friday.

About 77 percent of students statewide received a passing grade in both math and English/language arts the first time they took the test. Three out of four York County districts surpassed that number.

The High School Assessment Program is given to students for the first time in 10th grade. Students who don't pass the exam on their first try are given other opportunities to take it.

"These gains are encouraging, particularly the increased numbers of African-American students scoring at higher levels," state Superintendent of Education Jim Rex said in a news release. "Raising South Carolina's on-time high school graduation rate is a key goal, and improved HSAP performance is definitely a step in that direction."

Some local districts exceeded the statewide percentage, while others fell short.

Here's a look at the percentage of students in local districts who passed the exit exam on their first try.

• Chester: 72.9 percent

• Clover: 84 percent

• Fort Mill: 92.3 percent

• Rock Hill: 74.7 percent

• York: 83.8 percent

All but the Chester district improved on their percentage from last year.

Rock Hill, one of the two local districts that didn't meet the statewide percentage this year, had 5.9 percentage points more students pass the test on their first try this year than last year. That marks the greatest gain of the five local districts.

HSAP factors in to Adequate Yearly Progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. AYP results were released last week.