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School exam stats released

(Source: AP Images) (Source: AP Images)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The South Carolina Department of Education released scores for the 2014-2015 End-of-Course Examination Program.

The EOCEP covers the tests taken at the end of each semester for certain classes: English 1, Algebra 1 or Mathematics for the Technologies, Biology 1 or Applied Biology 2, and United States History and Constitution. These are not taken by every student, for every class, or for every year. They are given specifically to all public school students who take what’s call a gateway course for which credit can be applied to the requirements of getting a high school diploma.

These are standards set out in the Education Accountability Act of 1998. According to the state, these end-of-course tests are for the purpose of promoting instruction in these areas that will result in academic achievement. The tests also serve as indicators of the program, school, and district to see how effective they are.

These test scores count as 20 percent of the student's final grade. The exam percentage equates to a letter grade. And these letter grades show whether or not the standards have been met. The grading scale for the tests are in percentages:

·         A: 93-100

·         B: 85-92

·         C: 77-84

·         D: 70-76

·         F: 0-69

According to the state, a student has “met” the standards if he or she gets a 70 or above. So as long as your student doesn’t fail the exam, it’s all considered “met”. But an “A” is considered “exemplary” performance.

Comparing the state averages from year to year, a higher percentage of students made A’s in the 2014-2015 academic year in the English, Algebra, and Biology end-of-course exams compared to the 2013-2014 academic year. However, a higher percentage of students also failed in each of those courses as well. For History, a lower percentage of students failed this year compared to last. So, as we are seeing more students getting exemplary scores in these exams, we are also seeing more students getting an F.

"Anytime our students take a new test, we expect the scores to dip,” says Molly Spearman, the South Carolina Superintendent of Education. “But quite honestly, it's a wakeup call for us in South Carolina that we've got to do a better job. We've got to put our expectations higher."

The average scores in each subject for the test results in Horry County are higher than the average scores in each subject for the entire state. Keep in mind, year to year, more Horry County students are failing. More local students are getting A’s in the end-of-course Science and History exams. But more are failing at English and Math this year compared to last. So while the overall averages in Horry County are still higher than the state, it’s not by much.

"I have the mindset that our students are just as smart if not smarter than students across the nation,” says Spearmen. “And we've got to motivate them to do better. It's a wakeup call for us and I'm encouraging teachers to really work harder to find out what the passion is and what students really like doing and helping them find their pathway to that."

If you compare all ten high schools in Horry County, the average scores in all subjects were all above the failing mark. However, none made an average “Exemplary” mark. The only schools in Horry County that did make an average “A” were eight middle schools.

This site below shows the state averages and individual county links are below the state statistics:

http://ed.sc.gov/data/test-scores/state-assessments/end-of-course-examination-program-eocep/eocep-scores-em9346ecy/?year=2015

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