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Testing shows mixed results for Charleston County schools amid pandemic

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 5:24 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2021 at 6:44 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Results from testing done within the Charleston County Schools show a mixed bag following a year with significant changes to learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MAP testing, which is done three times a year, measures not just achievement but also growth. Overall achievement rates were higher than the national average but there were also some declines from pre-pandemic levels.

Last school year, on average, students in grades 2 through 8 did better than pre-pandemic levels on math achievement but reading achievement was down slightly.

The testing also showed a 43% gap in readiness between white students and students of color, but overall the district saw a modest improvement in the readiness gap from before the pandemic.

Board Chair Reverend Doctor Eric Mack said there’s enough data to show it’s a continued problem and it’s time to focus on solutions.

“I’m angry to the point to say that we have to identify how we’re going to close this gap and not continuously talk about piloting more programs on top of what we’re already doing. Something has to work,” he said.

When it comes to growth, 53% of students in grades 2 through 8 met reading growth targets from last fall to this spring; that number jumps up to 62% for math growth.

“What we see is that Charleston County Schools has a larger percentage of students scoring at the highest level, a lower percentage of students scoring at the low level, but the challenge is the majority of students who are scoring at the lower levels are children of color and poverty,” Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait said.

As the school district tries to figure out how to spend millions of federal relief dollars, Postlewait said she wants to see the money spent to target students who are performing at lower achievement levels to push them into higher tiers.

Officials also gave an update on the COVID-19 mitigation plans for the upcoming school year. The district is still working to figure out what kinds of COVID testing may be used and how frequently there will be tests for students and staff. Masks will not be required and schools will work to maintain three feet of social distancing.

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