GEORGETOWN — While assessment scores for Georgetown County students improved in 2021-22, the results still fell short of pre-pandemic levels.
The portion of Georgetown County School District students who met or exceeded expectations on the South Carolina College-and-Career-Ready Assessments (SC READY) and South Carolina Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (SCPASS) improved 7.6 percentage points in language arts to 37.8 percent, 3.9 percentage points in math to 29.5 percent and 5.4 percentage points in science to 33.2 percent, Cutina Barrineau, district director for accountability and assessment, told the school board Sept. 20.
SC READY assesses South Carolina third through eighth graders in math and language arts. The SCPASS science assessment was administered to fourth, sixth and eighth graders in 2021-22. The social studies portion of the SCPASS exam was not administered in 2021-22.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2018-19, the students who met or exceeded expectations scored 40.1 percent in language arts, 37.5 percent in math and 39.8 percent in science.
Board member Patti Hammel said the improvement from 2020-21 to 2021-22 showed the value of students attending school in-person and interacting with teachers face-to-face.
“I saw that throughout,” Hammel said.
Georgetown County school board member Michael Cafaro made an impassioned speech in the midst of Barrineau’s presentation noting the “astronomical” job faced by teachers.
“We have public schools,” Cafaro said. “We take anybody who comes in. Some students are ready to learn, as you know, some of them are not. And that’s why when I look at these scores, I take them with not a grain of salt, but a ton of it, because I understand that a lot of these children come from very difficult backgrounds. A lot of people don’t want to hear that stuff, but that’s too bad.”
Cafaro served as principal of Georgetown High School from 2001 to 2011 and has also worked as an adjunct professor at The Citadel and Coastal Carolina University. In the seven years between the end of his tenure at Georgetown High and the beginning of his tenure on the board, he worked in various administrative roles for the district.
“The challenges that (teachers) have in there are astronomical, I know,” Cafaro said. “And it really, it hurts me so when I see this and then people who are on the street and they don’t know any better, they look at these things, and say, ‘Well, the public schools are failing, they’re failing.’ Well, you know something? If I’d have had a bunch of scholars, if I could go around to the public schools and just pull out those who are ready to learn, those who have been taught so much before they even enter pre-kindergarten or whatever, we’d have astronomical scores. But it doesn’t work like that in public schools.”
Statewide, nearly 47 percent of students met or exceeded expectations on the SC READY language arts assessment in 2021-22, and 39 percent met or exceeded expectations in math. Forty-six percent of students statewide met or exceeded expectations on the SCPASS science assessment in 2021-22.
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