Scores increase statewide on SC end-of-course exams

South Carolina students scored higher on end-of-course exams last school year, and most local school districts had average scores at or above state averages, according to the state Department of Education.

“I am pleased to announce that South Carolina students achieved increased scores on end-of-course exams across all four subject areas tested,” state Superintendent of Education Mick Zais said Tuesday in a news release. “Our students should be commended for their hard work, along with their parents and teachers who provided critical support.”

End-of-course exams are given at the end of four courses: Algebra 1/Mathematics for the Technologies 2; English 1; U.S. History and the Constitution; and Biology 1/Applied Biology 2. The courses can be taken in high school or in middle school for high school credit.

The exams count for 20 percent of students’ final grades in these “gateway” or “benchmark” courses, according to the Department of Education.

Among the highlights of the latest results:

• Overall score increases were 0.5 points in biology and English, 1.5 in Algebra, and 2.2 in U.S. History.

• The percentage of students receiving a grade of ‘A’ increased significantly across all four subjects: algebra by 6.7 percentage points; U.S. History by 5.4 points; English by 2.7 points; and biology by 2.3 points.

• There was a slight decline in the passing rate for English (0.2 percentage points).

Students in local school districts generally scored as well or better than state averages, with a few exceptions. Scores on all four exams in Chester and Lancaster counties were several points below the state median while scores in the Clover School District were at least three points higher than the average on all four subject areas. Scores in the Fort Mill School District were at least six points higher than the average.