By Alan Campbell
COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - Numbers released Friday morning revealed South Carolina's elementary and middle schools received high marks on state report cards, despite budget cuts.
This is the second round of report cards since lawmakers revamped statewide testing in grades 3 through 8.
More of South Carolina's primary, elementary, and middle public schools showed improvement on their annual report cards this year. That's according to the state Department of Educations results released at midnight this morning.
In the Lowcountry, schools generally followed statewide achievement trends.
In Charleston County, 22 elementary and middle schools rated excellent, while three rated good, a trend that has remained steady from last year. A total of eight schools received the lowest rating of "at risk, which is two less than last year.
Most of the county schools stayed the same from last year, while nine schools saw improvement and eight saw worse results.
In Berkeley County, 10 of 34 schools in that district had an excellent rating, which is six more than last year. Twenty schools had either good or average ratings while only two had below average ratings. No schools in Berkeley County were listed as at risk.
In Dorchester District 2, seven of the elementary and middle schools earned an excellent rating and 10 had either a good or average rating. None of the district's elementary and middle schools had a below or at risk rating.
In Dorchester District 4, none of the school earned an excellent rating and none were listed as at risk. One of the district's four elementary and middle schools did earn a good rating and one had a below average rating.
High school and district report card ratings will be available in January.
The overall state report card was an improvement from last year as well. Twenty-one percent of the state's 967 public, elementary and middle schools rated excellent overall, which is 4 percent higher than last year and 17 percent rated good. Forty-four percent of schools received an average mark and 13 percent rated below average.
Five percent of the state's schools were deemed at risk, which is 1 percent better than last year's number of schools with the lowest scores. Most of the gains came in elementary schools.
Report card ratings are based on a student's performance on the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards, also known as "PASS."
This is the first year that a school's rating can be compared with the previous year.
State Superintendent Dr. Jim Rex says that overall, he thinks the numbers are encouraging but probably not at the pace the state needs or deserves.