FCSD state report card released

WINNSBORO – With the release of the annual statewide school report cards earlier this month, the Department of Education attributed the novel coronavirus for systemic declines in student achievement across the state.

This year’s report cards did not use the traditional grading system. Previously the report cards assigned grades of Unsatisfactory, Below Average, Average, Good or Excellent to assess a school and district’s performance.

The Department of Education also cited the novel coronavirus for systemic declines in student achievement reported across the state. State Superintendent Molly Spearman called the report card results “alarming.”

Because of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s report cards carry a disclaimer, cautioning observers not to compare current results with results from prior years.

The department also cautioned that results “may be incomplete and may not be representative of the makeup of the State, district, or school population,” the notice states.

How Fairfield Schools Performed

In Fairfield County School District, three students posted “the highest possible scores” on portions of the SC Ready Exams, according to the school newspaper. Those students were identified as Ahmed El Bayoumi and Kensley Green who both scored high in mathematics, and Krishi Patel whose high score was in English/Language Arts.

And test results show that the Fairfield Magnet School for Math and Science exceeded state averages.

Compared to other schools in the pandemic year, however, Fairfield County School District’s test results publicly made available point to struggling schools. In virtually every statistical category, the Fairfield County School District trailed the state average by double percentage points, according to data the S.C. Department of Education released this month.

State report cards include a collection of SC Ready, SC Pass and end of course test results, depending on the grade level.

They also contain a myriad of student and faculty data, such as graduation rates, average teacher salaries and per pupil expenditures.

In 2020-2021, only 31% (259 of 836) of FCSD students met or exceeded expectations on the SC Ready-Language Arts exam versus 42.6% for the state, according to report card data.

SC Ready-Math scores suffered even more, with 25.1% (209 of 833) meeting or exceeding expectations. The state average was 37.3%.

Fairfield Magnet School Shines

The only school exceeding state averages was the Magnet School, where an impressive 61.4% of students met or exceeded expectations on SC Ready-Language Arts.

Nearly 57% scored as well on SC Ready-Math, while 64.3% met or exceeded expectations on SC Pass-Science.

No other Fairfield elementary school saw more than 37% of students meeting or exceeding expectations on any exam, according to report card data.

Fairfield Elementary reported the lowest across-the-board rates of students at least meeting expectations in SC Ready-Language Arts (16.5%) and SC Ready-Math (16.1%).

The school’s rate for SC Pass-Science was 17.4%, figures show.

McCrorey-Liston School of Technology reported the lowest overall success rate on any single exam with only 6.1%, or two of 33 students, meeting or exceeding expectations on the SC Ready-Math exam.

Fairfield high school students performed somewhat better, with 42.5% of students scoring C or better in English and 27% scoring C or better in Algebra.

Statewide, 63% of students scored C or better in English. About 46.8% scored C or better in Algebra.

Fairfield high schoolers performed low on the U.S. History & Constitution test with 15.6%, or 20 of 128 students, scoring C or better.

Small Wins

In prepared remarks included with the state report card, the Fairfield County School District said that in 2020-2021 it provided in-person instruction five days per week to 65% of the student population.

The district also touted professional development of staff, as well as the benefits of school clubs, special events and other initiatives.

“Although we faced challenges for the 2020-2021 school year, we were still able to persevere and celebrate small wins,” the statement reads. “We look forward to bigger and greater successes in the upcoming year as we use innovative practices to address learning gaps.”

Virtual vs. Face-to-Face Learning

“The achievement gaps, particularly amongst [sic] our youngest learners, demonstrate just how much learning has been disrupted and how important it is for every student to be face to face with their teacher every day,” Spearman said in a statement.

In 2020-2021, most school districts relied on virtual learning to help curb virus transmission. The emergence of the highly contagious delta variant, which impacts school-aged children more than previous strains, has prompted many districts that had resumed in-person learning to once again switch to virtual.

“Our students perform at their best when they are face-to-face inside the classroom with their teacher,” Spearman said. “We believe these results are an anomaly and we can best change that by ensuring every school remains open and is a safe environment for our students to learn and our teachers to educate them.”

Comments

  1. Jeff Schaffer says

    I think the numbers speak for themselves. Fairfield schools in my opinion do very well in promoting misinformation and disinformation. Ask the young men and women who are first entering college and they will all tell you. They were not prepared for college, and their personal education here in Fairfield was way below the average. What we have here is a failure to communicate the truth and the facts. What is sold to the public is a large excuse for poverty. My friends’ poverty is not an excuse for an individual’s ability to learn. And if it is, why haven’t we corrected that! We are paying $23,000.00 a year per student. That should have been enough to buy us great educators and an advantage for the disadvantaged.

  2. Has anyone else experienced a lack of response to email sent to FCSD through the webform on its website? On Sept. 12 I requested the email address for the FOIA Offcer. Many school districts and other public bodies post that information on their websites, but not FCSD. Isn’t it a shame to have to submit a FOIA Request for the FOIA Officer’s email address???

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