Local

York County students gain in science and English, fall back in math

Nearly half of the roughly 1,400 Rock Hill students who took the state's end-of-course test in physical science last year failed.

The good news: That's an improvement over the previous year, when about 70 percent failed.

According to the S.C. Department of Education, which on Thursday released student scores from 2007-2008 end-of-course tests, Rock Hill joined York County's other three school systems in seeing gains in physical science gains.

Students' English exam scores also jumped in all four districts, while algebra scores slid. The trend mirrored scores statewide across all three subjects.

S.C. Superintendent of Education Jim Rex said he was encouraged by improvements, but considers overall scores too low.

"A key issue is whether teachers are covering specific material that students need to master before taking these tests," Rex said in a news release. "Are they covering the academic standards in their classrooms? And even if they are, are they doing it in effective ways?"

Rex last year directed the agency to devise materials to help teachers better prepare students for the tests. More than 600 middle and high school teachers have been trained with new curriculum guides, according to the education department. It's not clear if any were from York County districts.

Scores factored into final grades

End-of-course exams, uniform statewide and worth 20 percent of a student's final grade in each course, are mandated by the state's 1998 Education Accountability Act. Scores also figure into school districts' annual ratings.

Students are tested in what educators call "core subjects" -- algebra, English, physical science and history. Most generally take those courses in high school, but advanced middle-schoolers take them as well.

The history exam, now in its third year, wasn't factored into student grades. History scores will be included in next year's results.

The state education department posts the scores on its Web site.

Results "are most meaningful for the teachers," said Janice West, curriculum and instruction coordinator for Fort Mill schools. "That's the capstone for whether they did their job well and their students responded."

Fort Mill students continued to outperform peers in Clover, Rock Hill and York schools.

In algebra, for example, about 40 percent of Fort Mill students scored an A. About 30 percent did so on the historically tricky physical science exam. More students over the past two school years in all four districts failed the science exam than any other test.

"Physical science is tough," said John Keith, a Rock Hill science teacher who previously taught in Fort Mill, Lancaster and Charlottesville, Va. "It's one of the first times most of these kids see math and science dance together."

Officials from the Rock Hill, Clover and York school districts couldn't be reached for comment.

2008 end-of-course exam scores for York County students

Rock Hill

Algebra 1 / Mathematics for the Technologies 2

Students tested, 1729

% A, 13.1

% B, 19.5

% C, 24.1

% D, 23.4

% F, 20.0

English 1

Students tested, 1603

% A, 9.1

% B, 17.0

% C, 25.2

% D, 20.1

% F, 28.6

Physical Science

Students tested, 1455

% A, 11.8

% B, 9.4

% C, 13.1

% D, 17.4

% F, 48.3

Fort Mill

Algebra 1 / Mathematics for the Technologies 2

Students tested, 755

% A, 40.3

% B, 25.7

% C, 19.2

% D, 9.7

% F, 5.2

English 1

Students tested, 762

% A, 21.9

% B, 17.0

% C, 28.7

% D, 12.3

% F, 8.3

Physical Science

Students tested, 783

% A, 29.9

% B, 19.3

% C, 17.9

% D, 15.8

% F, 17.1

York

Algebra 1 / Mathematics for the Technologies 2

Students tested, 517

% A, 4.3

% B, 14.3

% C, 25.3

% D, 29.2

% F, 26.9

English 1

Students tested, 399

% A, 8.3

% B, 13.3

% C, 26.8

% D, 20.8

% F, 30.8

Physical Science

Students tested, 390

% A, 5.9

% B, 12.3

% C, 17.9

% D, 19.2

% F, 44.6

Clover

Algebra 1 / Mathematics for the Technologies 2

Students tested, 457

% A, 17.7

% B, 23.9

% C, 25.2

% D, 22.3

% F, 10.9

English 1

Students tested, 541

% A, 9.6

% B, 18.5

% C, 31.2

% D, 20.0

% F, 20.7

Physical Science

Students tested, 463

% A, 19.4

% B, 16.0

% C, 20.7

% D, 17.7

% F, 26.1

For more

See detailed scores from York County’s schools and across the state here.

Under the “Topics” heading click “Testing and Assessment.” Click “Test Scores.” Then click “End of Course Test Scores 2008.”

  Comments