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KC students earn high PASS marks

Posted: September 20, 2012 8:53 p.m.
Updated: September 21, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Kershaw County School District (KCSD) students surpassed the average 2012 Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS) scores in 15 of 24 areas.

The KCSD increased its rank in 10 of 24 areas since last year’s PASS testing. 

KCSD’s Director for Student Assessment Lavoy Carter presented the board with information on 2012 PASS scores at Tuesday night’s Kershaw County School Board of Trustees (KCSB) meeting. The district’s students “outperformed” students across the state in English and Language Arts (ELA), scoring higher than the state average. The third grade, however, lagged slightly behind in the same category, with an 80 percent pass rate, compared to the state average of 80.3 percent. KCSD also scored well overall in science, with the fifth grade coming in below the state average by only one percent.

“In the six areas where our rankings dropped or stayed the same, the district’s scores improved from the previous year,” Carter said.

In math, fourth-, sixth-, and eighth-graders surpassed the state average; and sixth-and eighth-grade students exceeded state averages in social studies.

KCSD ranked in the top third among all grade-school levels  in ELA scores compared to 11 surrounding school districts, including: Lexington 5, Darlington, Sumter, Richland 2, Lancaster, Lexington 2, Chesterfield, Richland 1, Fairfield, Chester and Lee. They ranked third with third-through fifth-graders and No. 2 with six through eighth-graders in ELA scores.

Compared to those same districts in math scores, the district ranked third among sixth- through eighth-graders.

Richland School District 2 ranked No. 8 in grades six and seven and No.7 with eighth graders.  KCSD ranked No. 6 in third-grade math scores; No 2. with fourth-graders; and No. 4 with sixth-grade math scores.

Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan said the longer a student stays in Kershaw County, “the better they do compared to the rest of the state.”

Morgan said the third grade ELA scores would be an area of emphasis for the school district. He also noted that third-graders across the state aren’t scoring as well in ELA as in math. Additionally, he said he wants to improve achievement gap between special needs students and non-special needs students.

Richland 2 and Lancaster are the two school districts Morgan “benchmarked” the KCSD against. Morgan said KCSD is ahead of them across the board.

“We compete with them for economic development, our students compete with them for college admissions, and both districts spend a couple of thousand dollars more on each kid,” Morgan said during the board meeting.

 “We always compare ourselves financially to Richland 2, but we still have outperformed them,” School Board Chair Mara Jones said.  “Accountability and a date-driven system helps us do well.”

Vice Chair Kim Horton Durant said she is a happy with the pass scores. She attributed the increase in ranking to the “fantastic” leadership of the principals and teachers in the KCSD.

 “We’ve been blessed with very dedicated teachers in this county,” said Trustee Jim Smith, of Cassatt.

In other business:

• The board updated their list of yearly goals again. Jones suggested that the board consider updating Kershaw’s County Council quarterly. The board voted unanimously to approve the list of goals with the added amendment.

• North Central Middle School has won the Palmetto Gold and Silver award this year.

• Derrick Proctor was sworn in as a KCSB Trustee. Proctor will fill former Trustee Joey Dorton’s seat until the end of the year, and is a candidate in the upcoming election for the seat. Dorton died this past August in a single-collision car crash.

• Jones and Trustee Shirley Halley were honored by the South Carolina School Boards Association (SCSBA) for achievement in the association’s 2011 - 2012 Boardmanship Institute. Both trustees received level two recognition, receiving 40 points in one year. Each received a certificate and a pin.

• The facility/finance committee meeting will be held Tuesday, Sept. 25.

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