COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) — Leaders with the South Carolina Department of Education are expressing some concerns after the results of the Career Readiness and End-of-Course Examination Program were released Monday morning.
The End-of-Course Examination Program provides exams in high school core subjects as well as courses taken in middle school for high school credits. Those courses are Algebra 1, English 2, U.S. History and the Constitution, and Biology 1.
The data from the South Carolina Dept. of Education reveals the average score on the exams in these subjects, as well as the percentage of students that received each letter grade (A, B, C, D, F).
The data also shows how public schools in school districts across the state performed. In the tri-county area of the Lowcountry, Charleston County School District and Dorchester District 2 had higher average scores on all tests compared to the state averages.
Berkeley County had lower average scores on all of the tests compared to the state averages, and Dorchester District 4 had lower average scores on all tests except Biology.
“This is only used to be a tool, and so we know that while some districts might not be seeing the best results that other districts may be seeing — we know they are working hard in every district to ensure that their students are best prepared for college career or military,” said Derek Phillips, South Carolina Dept. of Education’s Director of Communications.
The state average test scores for 2023 increased in each subject compared to 2022. However, State Superintendent Ellen Weaver said she was particularly concerned with the number of students who failed the U.S. History exam.
According to the data, nearly 40% of students received an ‘F’ on the test.
“Our future depends upon citizens with knowledge deeply rooted in our shared story and America’s exceptional founding ideals,” Weaver said in a press release. “That’s why a strong focus on civics education will be an ongoing priority of my administration.
Phillips said the State Dept. of Education is holding two civics-based writing competitions to help students get involved and have a better understanding of the subjects.
“The first invites students to stand in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “symbolic shadow” to deliver a speech outlining their American dream for our shared future; the second encourages students to create an exemplary community service project that aligns with Constitutional principles and solves a problem through non-profit and/or for-profit enterprise,” the press release reads.
The deadline for the “I Have a Dream” Student Writing Contest is September 29, while the deadline for the second competition is in May 2024.