Fairfield County School District Results Mixed on State Reports

The Fairfield County School District saw its Absolute Rating improve from a Below Average mark in 2011 to Average in 2012, according to district and school report cards released Tuesday by the S.C. State Department of Education. It is the highest Absolute Rating the district has received in the last five years. The district’s Growth Rating dropped from Excellent in 2011 to Good on the current reports, while schools across the district showed mixed results on the 12th annual report cards.

The Absolute Rating is based on a school’s academic performance on achievement measures for the current school year while the Growth Rating is the level of growth in academic performance when comparing current performance to the previous year’s performance.

A battery of numbers on the reports show the district performing close to or better than similar districts. On PASS Test results, the Fairfield County School District had a higher percentage of students scoring “Met or above” than in similar districts in every subject but Writing, in which Fairfield was off by only 1.5 percentage points. Likewise, the percent of students scoring “Exemplary” also bested those of similar districts in every subject but Writing, which Fairfield missed by 0.2 percentage points. In HSAP results, the percent of Fairfield students passing two subjects was 63.4 percent, compared with 65.2 percent in similar districts. More significantly, 10.2 percent of Fairfield students passed no subjects on the HSAP tests, versus 16.1 percent of students in similar districts. Fairfield’s overall HSAP passing rate as of spring 2012 was 84.1 percent, while in similar districts that number was 86.2 percent. Fairfield’s End of Course test passing rate outpaced similar districts by nearly a full percentage point, 49.5 to 48.6 percent, while Fairfield’s on-time graduation rate was 76.6 percent, compared to 74.8 percent in similar districts. The dropout rate shrank from 2.7 percent last year to 1.5 percent this year, while the attendance rate fell from 97.5 percent in 2011 to 96.2 percent in 2012. The district received an overall grade of B on last spring’s Federal Accountability Rating System.

Fairfield Central High School

held steady at Average for the third consecutive year on its Absolute Rating, while its Growth Rating improved from Below Average in 2011 to Good in 2012. Compared to similar high schools, Fairfield Central’s HSAP passing rate was better by more than 3 percentage points, 84.1 to 80.5. Fairfield Central’s on-time graduation rate was 76.9 percent, compared to 66.9 percent in similar high schools. Fairfield Central showed slightly better numbers in English and Biology than similar high schools on the End of Course tests, and slightly lower numbers in Algebra. Fairfield Central’s performance in U.S. History was significantly lower than similar high schools, bringing their overall End of Course numbers down to 43.4 percent, versus 47.1 percent in similar high schools. Money spent per pupil at Fairfield Central rose 10.5 percent in 2012 to $9,174. Parent attendance at teacher conferences was down from 87.69 percent in 2011 to 85.3 percent in 2012. The student-teacher ratio improved slightly from 24-1 in 2011 to 22.2-1 in 2012.

Fairfield Middle School

also held steady at Average on both its Absolute and Growth ratings. Money spent per pupil also held steady at $10,274, and the student-teacher ratio of 16.2-1 also saw no change. Parents attending conferences fell slightly from 100 percent a year ago to 99.9 percent in 2012.

Fairfield Elementary School improved to Below Average on its Absolute Rating, up from At-Risk in 2011 and 2010. Its Growth Rating remains at Below Average, where it has been since 2010. Money spent per pupil was down slightly this year to $8,308, a decrease of 0.3 percent, while the student-teacher ratio remained at 18.1-1 and parents showed 100 percent attendance at conferences again this year.

The Fairfield Magnet School for Math and Science improved from Average in 2011 to Good in 2012 on its Absolute Rating, while its Growth Rating remained at Excellent for the second year in a row. Money spent per pupil rose 1.7 percent to $7,754 and parents attending conferences improved from 88.8 percent a year ago to 100 percent this year. The student-teacher ratio increased significantly in the past year, from 8.9-1 to 18.3-1. That ratio is still lower than similar schools, whose average ratio is 19.1-1.

Geiger Elementary, while retaining its Below Average Absolute Rating, saw its Growth Rating fall from Average last year to At-Risk this year. Although the student-teacher ratio improved from 17.4-1 last year to 11-1 this year, the amount of money spent per pupil decreased 6.7 percent to $8,090. Parent attendance at conferences was also down from 96.6 percent to 34.1 percent.

Kelly Miller Elementary held its Absolute Rating of Average for the third consecutive year, but saw its Growth Rating fall from two straight years of Excellent to Average. Money spent per pupil increased 3 percent to $9,420 and the student-teacher ratio improved to 11.5-1 from 13.5-1 last year. Parents attending conferences held at 100 percent.

The Absolute Rating at McCrorey-Liston Elementary fell from Average in 2011 back to its 2010 rating of Below Average, while its Growth Rating remained at Average for the third consecutive year. Money spent per pupil rose 1.1 percent to $10,136, while the percentage of parents attending conferences fell from 94.5 to 91.4. The student-teacher ratio for MLE was not reported.