Report card ratings released today mostly had good news for Lowcountry school districts, but graduation rates were mixed.
Every South Carolina school district and school receives a state report card rating based on its test scores, and the five ratings range from a low of “at risk” to a high of “excellent.”
In the Lowcountry, both Berkeley and Dorchester 2 schools saw its overall district rating improve, with Berkeley moving from “average” to “good” and Dorchester 2 climbing from “good” to “excellent,” according to ratings released by the state Department of Education Tuesday.
Charleston and rural Dorchester 4 both maintained its overall ratings of “good” and “average,” respectively.
On graduation rates, Charleston and Dorchester 2 made notable gains. Charleston jumped 3.3 percentage points to 75.5 percent this year while Dorchester 2 had a 2.1 percent point jump to 76.5 percent this year.
Both districts’ percentages beat the state average of 74.9 percent, which was an improvement from last year’s 73.6 percent. The state is seeing its highest graduation rate since 2008.
“The prospects for long-term economic growth and job creation improve as more students graduate from high school with the skills necessary to compete for jobs in the workforce, enlist in the military, or enroll in an institution of higher education,” said state Superintendent of Education Mick Zais in a statement.
Still, some Lowcountry districts didn’t fare as well for graduation rates. Berkeley saw its rate slide from 75 percent last year to 74.4 percent this year, while rural Dorchester 4, which has only one high school, saw its rate dip from 77 percent last year to 71.5 percent this year.
The state has two systems for evaluating its districts and schools. Report card ratings are required by the state Education Accountability Act, and letter grades released earlier this fall are mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind law.
Zais said his top legislative priority for the next two years is to modernize and unify the two systems so that it increases transparency and performance standards.
“Words such as ‘at-risk’ are ambiguous and confusing, which is why I will recommend to Governor Haley and the General Assembly that letter grades replace the current rating descriptors,” he said.
To see your school’s report card, go here.
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