EDITOR’S NOTE: The EOC held a full meeting October 12 at 1:00 p.m. at the Blatt Building in Columbia. The meeting was livestreamed and can be viewed in its entirety online at https://www.scstatehouse.gov/video/archives.php.
Columbia, SC – On October 12, the Education Oversight Committee (EOC) approved recommendations that maintain a commitment to administering state assessments to all students this school year but recommends waiving School Report Card ratings. The recommendations will be forwarded to members of the SC General Assembly.
The recommendations came as the SC Department of Education (SCDE) is finalizing a request to the US Department of Education which will seek to waive all federal accountability-related testing requirements, which includes all student testing of English Language Arts, mathematics, and science. The waiver is required by Act 142, which passed the SC General Assembly in June 2020.
During his remarks to the EOC, Executive Director Matthew Ferguson summarized the staff recommendations, which are grounded in the belief that in order to make sound decisions that lead to continuous student and school improvement, we must have data in order to make such decisions.
“Given the unprecedented instructional disruption that has occurred as a result of COVID-19, the importance of understanding and being transparent about student mastery of state standards has never been more critical,” Ferguson stated. “We have a responsibility to provide policymakers and education leaders the information required to make data-informed decisions.”
The EOC remains committed to school accountability measures that are transparent, flexible, fair, and useful to students, parents, educators and taxpayers. Although state law requires that School Report Cards with ratings be issued to all K-12 public schools annually, the EOC went further to recommend that all ratings be waived for the current school year.
“As a state, we are challenged in measuring student growth when students were not tested last Spring,” stated Ferguson. He also noted that the EOC and SCDE were completing a cyclical review of the accountability system, which will contain recommendations for revising the system by which schools are rated.
The EOC also recommended that the SCDE develop a plan to administer a sample of students, should the federal waiver be granted. These data would provide a snapshot into the impact of school closures and the current learning options on student achievement.
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.