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ATEC shows improvement on national tests
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The Applied Technology Education Campus (ATEC) showed improvement in several national career and technical education performance standards for 2013, according to results released by the S.C. Department of Education.

The school surpassed accountability goals in seven of the measurable standards set by the federal government for all state schools receiving funding for programs and services.

“The standards reflect how well we are preparing students to graduate with the skills they need to perform not only in the workplace but also in post-secondary education,” ATEC Director Chet Horton said in a press release.

Among the goals ATEC improved on this year was non-traditional students participating in and completing programs leading to careers primarily populated by one gender or the other.

ATEC’s performance in this area has been steadily improving during the past several years, but it was not until 2013 that it surpassed the designated goal.

“This has been a tough standard for us to meet over the years,” Horton said, “but we finally got over the hump.”

Horton said the addition of agriculture and law enforcement/fire emergency services programs several years ago helped ATEC finally meet the standard.

“Females taking agriculture and law enforcement/ fire emergency services are considered non-traditional in those career fields,” Horton said, “We have a good number of females enrolled in those programs, so that has been a plus for us.”

ATEC also improved on the academic standard in reading/ language arts, exceeding the 2013 goal after failing to meet it in 2012. The standard measures the number of senior program completers who scored proficient or advanced on the state’s English Language Arts (ELA) HSAP. ATEC’s performance was 66.82 percent. The goal was 62.5 percent.

In technical skills attainment, an average of 94.29 percent of ATEC completers passed technical skill assessments that are aligned with industry-recognized standards. The goal was 88.5 percent. In student graduation, 96.24 percent of ATEC program completers were included in the state’s graduation rate. The goal was 85.5 percent.

In placement, an average of 96.6 percent of ATEC completers from the past three years after graduating either entered post-secondary education, military service or were employed in a career related to the program they completed while at ATEC. The goal was 93 percent.

The one standard ATEC did not meet was academic attainment in mathematics. This standard measures the number of senior program completers who scored proficient or advanced on the state math HSAP. ATEC’s performance was 49.31 percent. The goal was 61 percent.

Horton said ATEC will submit an academic improvement plan for making progress in this area.

“We exceeded our ELA goal in 2013 after not reaching it in 2012. I am confident we can exceed the math goal in the future as we have met it in the past.”

Horton said ATEC was not alone in failing to reach the math academic standard. The state overall did not reach its goal.

The standards performance report for the current 2013-14 school year will be released in early 2015.