PASS tests show DD2 schools strongly outpacing state averages

COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - Students in Dorchester County District 2 who took the 2010 Palmetto Assessment of State Standards tended to greatly outperform the state averages in all grade levels, data released Friday showed.

On average, students in DD2 scored about 10 percentage points higher than the state average on every test in every grade.

[See complete data from the Department of Education.]

The state test has three scoring levels -- exemplary, meaning the student demonstrated exemplary performance in their grade level; met, meaning the student achieved the grade-level standard; and not met, meaning the student did not satisfy the standards of the grade-level.

The test is given to students in grades 3 through 8 and focuses on writing, reading and research, math, science and social studies.

Even though the district was well above state averages and improved upon last year's scores, the district still slipped by significant percentage points in grade 3 science, grade 4 social studies and grade 7 language arts. There were negligible drops in all of the fifth grade tests.

The district saw the biggest jump in average scores over 2009 in grade 8 science, a 7.7 percentage point increase.

Where science was a problem for the state as a whole and other districts in the Lowcountry, DD2 students tended to excel in the subject but fewer students scored well enough to be placed in the exemplary level. Only 16.3 percent of grade 4 students met the exemplary-level standards, but 44.4 percent of grade 8 students achieved the same level.

The data shows DD2 students largely excelled across the board, but pass rates were highest in language arts and writing. However, the percentage of students that passes the state standard fell off with students in grade 8. Many of the grade levels saw more than 80 percent of students pass the standardized tests.

PASS scores for African-American students, students operating with a limited understanding of the English language and those enrolled in free or reduced lunch programs remained lower that overall student scoring percentages in the district, similar to the state-wide percentages.

African-American students tended to fall between 10 and 15 percentage points behind white students. However, African-American students in DD2 outpaced the state average in nearly every grade and test. Third grade African-American students fared best in language arts testing where 82.1 percent passed. The state average for the same test was 70.9 percent.

Students with limited English proficiency and those who receive free or reduced lunch saw their greatest success in the grade 4 math. More than 82 percent of grade 4 students with limited English proficiency passed the math test. In third grade language arts, 81 percent of students passed.

Female students continued the state trend of performing better than their male counterparts in every test category except science in grades 4 and 6, and grade 7 social studies. A near perfect 92.7 percent of female grade 3 students passed the language arts test.

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