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Education: Waccamaw schools get B’s on state progress report

Waccamaw Elementary School got the highest grade in Georgetown County on a new measure of progress toward federal education standards. It was one of six county schools to receive an A under the new system made possible by a waiver granted to the state under the federal education law known as No Child Left Behind. The three other Waccamaw Neck schools received B’s.

Before the waiver, schools and districts were measured on “adequate yearly progress” toward federal goals with a pass-fail system. Schools had to meet the objectives in categories based on race, income and disabilities, and missing one target meant the school did not meet the progress standard.

With the waiver, South Carolina is using a system of letter grades that show how much progress a school or district has made toward the goal, based on results from the state’s standardized tests.

Waccamaw Elementary scored 97.4 out of 100, equal to an A. It was the only area school that met the progress, or AYP, standard last year.

Although Waccamaw High, Waccamaw Middle and Waccamaw Intermediate all received ratings of excellent in both achievement and improvement last year, none met AYP. The high school was short in three of 17 areas; the middle school in two of 19; the intermediate school in three of 21.

This year, the high school earned a B with a score of 89.5. It did not meet the goal for graduation rate among black and disabled students or for science proficiency among low-income students. It was short of the improvement goal for black students in science and social studies.

The middle school scored 89.1. It missed the goals for proficiency among black students in social studies, among disabled students in math and science, and among low-income students in science.

The intermediate school scored 80.9 for its fourth- and fifth-graders, and 87.5 for its sixth graders. Disabled students in the elementary grades did not meet proficiency goals in English, math, science or social studies. Black students missed the goal in math and scocial studies. Low-income students missed science and social studies goals.

The sixth-grade students missed the same goals among disabled students and missed the science goals among black students.

District Superintendent Randy Dozier noted that the progress goals are hard to achieve for schools that already perform at a high level. Often that progress requires improving the scores of a small number of students.

The B grades mean the schools, and the district as a whole, exceeded the state’s expectations.

Accountability data: Click here

HSAP (High School Assessment Program) data: Click here

PASS (Palmetto Assessment of State Standards) data: Click here

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