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SC scores on national card show declines

Thu, 08/16/2018

Mississippi moves ahead of South Carolina in fourth grade results

Columbia – Today, results from the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in Reading and Math were released by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The release is also known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” as it is the only assessment that allows comparisons of public education achievement across states.

Results for South Carolina students show a significant decrease in performance for fourth graders in both reading and math. South Carolina’s 4th grade reading performance, as measured from 2015 to 2017, was the second largest decline in the nation. Performance was flat from 2015 to 2017 for South Carolina 8th grade students.

The NAEP administration began in 2003 and is a requirement for states who receive Title I federal funding. All states currently participate in the Reading and Math assessments, testing a representative sample of students in mathematics and reading at grades 4 and 8 every two years. Science, once a required tested area, is now an optional offering for states. Results are reported out at the state level, not at the school or student level. This year’s assessments were digitally-based and delivered to students on tablets, routers, and mobile connectivity provided by NCES.

According to EOC Chairman Neil Robinson, the results of NAEP, often referred to as the “gold standard,” are designed to be used by teachers, principals, parents, policymakers, and researchers to assess progress and develop ways to improve education in the United States.

“The release today emphasizes the importance of putting value on the education of the young people we serve in schools every day,” stated Robinson. “The states who improved, including Florida who led the nation, point to the importance of strong accountability and a continued focus on strong teaching and learning.”

Melanie Barton, EOC Executive Director stated that the staff was reviewing the historical trends for South Carolina and neighboring states and emphasized that a new accountability system this fall would provide an opportunity for the state to refocus. Schools have not received ratings for three years.

In 2005, results on NAEP showed significant improvements made by South Carolina students. South Carolina made the largest gains nationally in 8th grade math, 4th grade science, and 8th grade science. Fourth grade math showed the second largest jump nationally, and SC ranked 28th nationally.

“As we dig into the data, we see that when the accountability system was strong in South Carolina, we were one of the fastest improving systems in the country. Now, we are losing ground to states whom we have previously outperformed,” Barton stated.

Robinson concluded the responsibility to reverse course lies with all of us.

“To ensure our students success and our state’s economic future, we must all own this issue; ‘we’ includes the EOC members, the SC Department of Education, educators, policymakers, school board members, community leaders, businesses, parents, and students,” stated Robinson. “We must ask ourselves what system of learning and measures of progress we need to put in place to move our students and our state forward.”


South Carolina's National Ranking on "Nation's Report Card" - NAEP (Rankings based on Average Scale Scores*)
Assessment 2015 SC National Ranking SC Outperformed these States in 2015 2017 SC National Ranking SC Outperformed these States in 2017
4th Grade Reading 39th Alabama, Louisiana, Michigan, West Virginia, Arizona, Hawaii, Mississippi, Alaska, California, and New Mexico 47th Louisiana, New Mexico, and Alaska
4th Grade Math 39th Alaska, Georgia, Michigan, Arkansas, West Virginia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, California, Alabama, and New Mexico 43rd Oregon, Alabama, California, Nevada, Alaska, New Mexico, and Louisiana
8th Grade Reading 42nd West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Nevada, Hawaii, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Mississippi 44th West Virginia, Alabama, Alaska, Louisiana, Mississippi and New Mexico
8th Grade Math 42nd Arkansas, California, Florida, Nevada, Oklahoma, Mississippi, New Mexico, West Virginia, Louisiana, and Alabama 44th Arkansas, West Virginia, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama, and Louisiana

Ranks defined the number of states whose performance is better or the same as SC.


Average Scale Scores   Average Scale Scores
4th Grade Math (Public Schools)   8th Grade Math (Public Schools)
Year SC US   Year SC US
2007 237 239   2007 282 280
2009 236 239   2009 280 282
2011 237 240   2011 281 283
2013 237 241   2013 280 284
2015 237 240   2015 276 281
2017 234 239   2017 275 282


Average Scale Scores   Average Scale Scores
4th Grade Reading (Public Schools)   8th Grade Reading (Public Schools)
Year SC US   Year SC US
2007 214 220   2007 257 261
2009 216 220   2009 257 262
2011 215 220   2011 260 264
2013 214 221   2013 261 266
2015 218 221   2015 260 264
2017 213 221   2017 260 265


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.