COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - South Carolina high school students raised the overall scores on end-of-course examinations at the completion of the 2009-2010 school year.
Scores in Algebra 1, English 1, and Physical Science were the highest scores and had the most solid gains. U.S. History is a concern, as that is the course in which students did the poorest in testing. State education officials attribute that to the fact that is the newest test and teachers are still getting used to how it works.
While students have long taken final exams, South Carolina standardized these tests six years ago to get a better picture of how students were progressing.
Algebra 1 testing began in the 2003-2004 school year, and English 1 and Physical Science were added a year later. A fourth end-of-course exam, U.S. History and the Constitution, was added to the state's school accountability system two years ago. Results count for 20 percent of each student's final grades in these courses.
Highlights of the 2010 results included:
- Algebra 1 - The average scale score increased to 80.0 from 79.1 the previous year. A greater percentage of high school students had scores in the A, B or C range, and a smaller percentage recorded D's or F's. The percentage of students scoring A-C increased from 55.3 percent in 2009 to 61.3 percent in 2010. The percentage of F scores dropped from 22.8 percent to 19.8 percent.
- English 1 - The average scale score increased 1.4 points, from 75.5 to 76.9. More students had scores in the A-C range, 53.4 percent compared to 48.9 percent the previous year. The percentage of F scores dropped from 31.6 percent to 26.3 percent.
- Physical Science - The average scale score increased 1.5 points, from 72.5 to 74. More students had scores in the A-C range, 42.6 percent compared to 37.2 percent the previous year. F scores decreased by 3.6 percentage points.
- U.S. History and the Constitution - The average scale score for the newest end-of-course exam increased from 69.4 to 69.8. More students had scores in the A-C range, 24.1 percent compared to 21.7 percent the previous year. F scores decreased by 3.9 percentage points, from 57.6 percent to 53.7 percent.
State Superintendent Jim Rex said more students posted grades of A, B or C, and fewer students posted failing grades. The biggest improvement was in Algebra 1, where A-C grades increased from 55.3 percent in 2009 to 61.3 percent in 2010.
A review of Social Studies standards is being conducted offering a look into how that subject is being taught in South Carolina schools. That will be the next test to join the battery of exams.