The redesigned format includes a broad range of indicators

2018 School Report Cards
Posted on 11/29/2018
Report card

Thursday, November 29, 2018

S.C. Department of Education, EOC post
new versions of School Report Cards

BEAUFORT – The South Carolina Department of Education and Education Oversight Committee today released redesigned online Report Cards that rate schools across the state on a wide range of indicators that range from academic results to parent satisfaction.

Beaufort County School District’s on-time high school graduation rate improved for an eighth consecutive year in 2018 to reach an all-time high.  The graduation rate – the percentage of students who complete high school “on time” and earn a diploma in four years – improved to 86 percent, up from 84.1 percent in 2017 and up from 78.3 in 2014.  South Carolina’s statewide graduation rate for 2018 was 81 percent. 

One of the key new report card metrics found that 78.4 percent of Beaufort County high school seniors were “College- or Career-Ready,” reflecting whether they are prepared for college or careers after graduation.  Beaufort County’s number compared favorably to other South Carolina districts, including Greenville (71.7 percent), Charleston (74.8 percent), Berkeley 66.2 percent) and Richland District 2 (65 percent).

The redesigned state-issued report cards scored schools across a broad range of categories, including their first overall ratings since 2014.  The new report cards are the result of a federal education law called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which required every state to develop challenging academic standards that specify the knowledge and skills it expects students to achieve.  States also were required to administer annual tests aligned with their new standards and to develop school report cards.

“All of these different new ratings give us baselines to work from moving forward,” said Bonnie Almond, the school district’s Chief Instructional Services Officer.  “They’re based on more rigorous standards and criteria, so parents shouldn’t be surprised to see lower ratings than the last time their children’s schools were rated by the state four years ago.  But certainly the new report cards will give parents a lot of information, and they also will highlight specific areas that schools can target for improvement.”

In Beaufort County, 70 percent of the district’s 34 overall ratings were either Excellent, Good or Average.  Twenty-four percent were rated Below Average, and 6 percent were rated Unsatisfactory.

Looking at grade-level comparisons, 68.4 percent of the district’s elementary school ratings were Excellent, Good or Average compared to 71.7 percent statewide; 66.6 percent of the district’s middle school ratings were Excellent, Good or Average compared to 71 percent statewide; and 83.3 percent of the district’s high school ratings were Excellent, Good or Average compared to 66.8 percent statewide. 

The state-set cutoff scores saw a number of district schools come close to, but not quite achieve, higher ratings:

  • Coosa Elementary (rating score of 61) was rated Excellent, while Red Cedar Elementary (rating score of 60) was rated Good because the state’s cut-off score for Excellent was 60.5.
  • Two district high schools – Bluffton High (rating score of 64) and Hilton Head Island High (rating score of 65) – were rated Good because the cutoff score for Excellent was 66.6.
  • Two district schools – Hilton Island Middle and Whale Branch Middle, each with rating scores of 26 – were rated Unsatisfactory because the cutoff score for an Unsatisfactory rating was 28.6.

While the new rating terms look the same, South Carolina Education Oversight Committee Chairman Neil Robinson cautioned against comparing school ratings from previous years. The EOC approved the new accountability system in September 2017 following three years of work and stakeholder engagement.

“While previous systems looked exclusively at student achievement measures, the new system also looks at measures like student engagement and the progress English learners are making in learning the English language,” Robinson said. “I can’t overemphasize that this new system sets higher expectations for students, focusing on their preparedness for college and careers, not just their ability to graduate from high school.” 

One aspect of the state-issued report cards focused on parents’ and teachers’ perceptions of school safety as revealed in their responses to surveys.  For Beaufort County:

  • 87.3 percent of parents said their children feel safe at school.
  • 76.2 percent of parents said their children’s teachers and school staff prevent or stop bullying at school.
  • 87.6 percent of teachers said that rules for behavior were enforced at their schools.
  • 94.2 percent of teachers said they felt safe at school before and after normal school hours.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  More information on the South Carolina Department of Education's website.