AIKEN - A new state method for reporting school performance to parents says Aiken County School District pupils test well, but they are not making the strides they should.
The district received an overall rating of good, but an improvement rating of below average in the first state school report cards.
Out of the district's 38 schools, individual school results range from two scoring unsatisfactory to eight scoring excellent.
Aiken County schools Superintendent Linda Eldridge said the district's good rating is accurate, but she said she questions the below-average improvement rating.
She said the improvement scoring method is also flawed as it relates to individual schools.
The report cards arrive in parents' mailboxes this week, three years after the Education Accountability Act created teaching standards for pupils across the state. The South Carolina Education Oversight Committee determined the methods to reach those standards.
"I want to get the data the (Education Oversight Committee) used to analyze and determine the improvement score," Dr. Eldridge said. "We have not seen that information."
Report cards for elementary and middle schools are based on results from the Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test. High school scores are based on the number of seniors that pass an exit exam and the number eligible for a merit-based scholarship.
South Carolina joins 44 states that already issue school report cards. Each school in the state is rated as excellent, good, average, below average or unsatisfactory.
"Other states have taken 10 years to do what South Carolina has done in three," state schools Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum said of the new system.
The improvement rating, a comparison of 2000 and 2001 test scores, was combined with each school's "absolute" score for the 2001 testing year.
That caused some schools to receive higher marks and others to fall to an unsatisfactory rating, said Dr. Frank Roberson, the associate superintendent of instruction.
Wagener-Salley High School experienced the bright side of the improvement rating. The school was expected to receive a below average, but earned an excellent improvement rating.
The school's improvement related to the number of seniors eligible for the LIFE scholarship. Three seniors were eligible in 2000. The number increased to 12 in 2001, said Area 4 Assistant Superintendent Joy Shealy.
On the down side, Aiken County school officials were not expecting Ridge Spring-Monetta High School to fall into the unsatisfactory category, but it did, Dr. Roberson said. A.L. Corbett Middle School also scored unsatisfactory.
Seven seniors at Ridge Spring-Monetta High were eligible for the scholarship in 2000, but no one met the standards in 2001, Dr. Roberson said.
Aiken County School District
Absolute rating: good
Improvement rating: below average
School; Composite; Absolute; Improvement
Aiken; excellent; excellent; good
Belvedere; good; good; below average
Busbee; average; average; average
Byrd; below average; average; unsatisfactory
Chukker Creek; excellent; excellent; good
Clearwater; below average; average; unsatisfactory
East Aiken; average; good; unsatisfactory
Gloverville; good; good; average
Greendale; average; average; below average
Hammond Hill; excellent; excellent; good
J.D. Lever; average; average; below average
Jefferson; good; good; below average
Millbrook; excellent; excellent; good
North Aiken; average; average; average
North Augusta; good; good; average
Oakwood-Windsor; good; good; good
Redcliffe; average; good; unsatisfactory
Ridge Spring-Monetta; below average; below average; below average
Warrenville; average; good; unsatisfactory
Aiken Middle; average; average; below average
A.L. Corbett; unsatisfactory; below average; unsatisfactory
Jackson Middle; below average; average; unsatisfactory
Kennedy; excellent; excellent; good
Langley-Bath-Clearwater; below average; average; unsatisfactory
Leavelle-McCampbell; average; average; below average
New Ellenton; good; average; good
North Augusta; good; good; below average
Paul Knox; below average; average; unsatisfactory
Ridge Spring-Monetta; average; average; average
Schofield; good; good; average
Aiken; excellent; excellent; excellent
Midland Valley; good; good; below average
North Augusta; good; good; below average
Ridge Spring-Monetta; unsatisfactory; unsatisfactory; unsatisfactory
South Aiken; excellent; excellent; excellent
Silver Bluff; good; good; below average
Wagener-Salley; excellent; good; excellent
Reach Carly Phillips at (803) 648-1395 or email@example.com.