Colleton County schools fall below state PASS averages

COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - Students in Colleton County who took the 2010 Palmetto Assessment of State Standards tended to perform below the state averages in all grade levels and in almost every test, data released Friday showed.

The only tests where Colleton County students tested above the state average were in grade 4 science and grade 5 social studies.

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.

However, the district did see some improvement over last year. Students in all grade levels improved their pass percentage in social studies over the previous year and sixth graders improved over 2009's results in every test.

The district as a whole struggled in getting students to the exemplary level. Less than 20 percent of students tested met the exemplary standard in most tests and most grade levels. Students performed best in all grade levels in the reading and research portion of PASS.

PASS scores for African-American students 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 about 20 percentage points behind white students on most tests. African-American students cut the academic gap to only trail by 10.4 percentage points in social studies at the fifth grade level. African-American students struggled most with the science test and often slipped to more than 30 points behind their white counterparts.

Students who receive free or reduced lunch saw similar success in social studies and the language arts, particularly in grades 4 through 6.

According to the PASS results, students with limited English proficiency saw less success in grades 3 and 4, but managed to pass a greater percentage of students in grades 5 and 6. In fact, 91.7 percent of students that comprise the demographic met or exceeded the grade 5 language arts test and 90 percent passed the sixth grade math test.

Female students continued the state trend of performing better than their male counterparts in many test categories, but the girls fell behind in math science and social studies in grade 4, 5 and 6. However, the female students regained their academic lead over their male counterparts in grades 7 and 8, besting the boys by an average of 10 percentage points in all test areas.

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