Editor’s Note: A copy of the full recommendations can be found online at http://www.eoc.sc.gov.
Columbia –The SC Education Oversight Committee (EOC) today adopted recommendations for a single accountability system that meet both federal and state requirements for school accountability. The recommendations were required as part of Act 200 of 2014, enacted by the SC General Assembly and follow 18 months of engagement from stakeholders representing parents, community members, business leaders, and educators.
“The members of the EOC feel strongly that the recommendations that we are sending forward to the SC Legislature represent what so many citizens in our state value for our young people and their schooling,” stated Neil Robinson, EOC Chairman. “The individuals on the EOC should be commended for their thoughtful, deliberate and purposeful work on behalf of children.”
The EOC recommended the adoption of two transformational goals for South Carolina:
1. By 2035, the on-time graduation rate of the state, each district, and each high school in South Carolina should be 90 percent. Children born in the current calendar year should graduate from high school in 2035.
2. Beginning with the graduating class of 2020, the state must increase annually by 5 percent the percentage of students who graduate ready to enter post-secondary education to pursue a degree or national industry credential without the need for remediation in mathematics or English.
Additionally, the EOC recommended that system and state metrics be reported to measure the progress schools are making meeting the state transformational goals. Samples of these metrics include the percentage of students entering kindergarten ready to learn and the percentage of high school graduates who are either gainfully employed in the state within five or ten years of graduating from high school or are enrolled in post-secondary education.
Reduction in Summative Testing
The EOC recommended a reduction in summative (end-of-year) testing of students, advocating that students take the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS) Science in grades 4, 6, and 8. Social Studies would be tested in grades 5 and 7. Currently, students are tested in both Science and Social Studies in grades 4-8. The EOC further recommended that multiple-choice assessments in science and social studies be replaced in the future with performance tasks “that truly measure a student’s content understanding and ability to apply his or her learning to solve real-world problems.” While summative testing is reduced in the recommendations, the EOC suggested South Carolina consider participating in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) to compare our achievement in South Carolina with students in other states and countries. The EOC went further to recommend that evidence of “soft skills” within the Profile of the SC Graduate be considered for the next cyclical review. Although skills like perseverance, critical thinking, and collaboration are part of the Profile and valued by business, they are not currently assessed regularly.
Although the EOC recommended that school districts not receive a summative rating, schools will receive a summative rating as well as a rating for each of four indicators under the proposal. The ratings for both the school summative rating as well as the component rating will use the nomenclature currently in state statute, Excellent, Good, Average, Below Average, and At-Risk and used since 1998. A sample of the recommended elementary school report card “landing page” can be found online at http://tinyurl.com/jsapqvc.
Elementary and middle school measured indicators will include Academic Achievement, Growth, English Language Proficiency, and Positive & Effective Learning Environment. High schools will be measured under the indicators Academic Achievement, English Language Proficiency, Positive & Effective Learning Environment, and Prepared for Success (College, Career, and Civic Life Ready).
High School Re-Design
Echoing the recommendations of the EOC’s High Task Force from 2016, the EOC recommended that the requirements for a high school diploma be revised as well as the content and coursework requirements in high school to reflect the needs of the 21st century. Additional recommendations in the report address rewarding performance and innovation as well as providing intervention and assistance.
The SC Education Oversight Committee is an independent, non-partisan group made up of 18 educators, business persons, and elected leaders. Created in 1998, the committee is dedicated to reporting facts, measuring change, and promoting progress within South Carolina’s education system