African American students test worse at English than students who speak it as a second language

Published: Aug. 7, 2014 at 11:09 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 7, 2014 at 11:41 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - PASS results show African American eighth graders in the Tri-county score worse in English than students who speak English as a second language.

PASS stands for Palmetto Assessment of State Standards. It's given to third through 8th grade students each year.

State Representative Wendell Gilliard said he was sad but not shocked at the results.

"It didn't really surprise me in a sense because from a government legislature perspective, we're really not serious about education in the state of South Carolina," Gilliard said.

African American students in both Berkeley and Charleston County scored 6 percent lower than students who are called Limited English Proficient. In DD2, African American students scored 7 percent lower.

Compare that to white students in the Tri-county, who scored between 14 and 33 percent higher than students who say English isn't their first language, Asian students, who scored between 11 and 34 percent higher, and Hispanic students, who scored 10 percent higher in DD2, 4 percent higher in Charleston County and 1 percent lower in Berkeley County.

There is no statistic for DD4, because there aren't enough students who speak English as a second language.

Gilliard has some possible solutions.

"We have to get serious about education, putting more funding behind it, and we need to reduce the classroom size," Gilliard said.

African American students also tested lower than any other race in almost every category and grade level. Gilliard says that's because there are not enough men in the classroom.

"In a historical black school or a predominantly black neighborhood, you want to have a strong presence of male teachers," Gilliard said. "I've heard this over and over. I've done research myself and believe me it works."

Gilliard says the scores really say more about the teachers.

"We should just toss it all off on the children. I see it as the people that we hire to educate these children," Gilliard said.

School district representatives from Berkeley County, Charleston County, and Dorchester District Two were all unavailable to comment on the scores.

Copyright WCSC 2014. All Rights Reserved.