Originally created 12/05/01

Schools get 'good' rating



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.

Report Cards

  • Composite rating - a combination of the absolute and improvement ratings
  • Absolute rating - based on test scores in elementary and middle schools and in high schools the number of seniors who passed the exit exam and qualified for the LIFE scholarship.
  • Improvement rating - uses the same criteria as the absolute rating, but is based on how schools improved from the previous year
  • Aiken County School District

    Absolute rating: good

    Improvement rating: below average

    Elementary Schools

    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

    Middle Schools

    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

    High Schools

    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 carly.phillips@augustachronicle.com.