The South Carolina Department of Education recently released the federally required report cards. Due to implementing a new format and new testing instruments recently, the report cards will not include district ratings until 2017. The report cards basically summarize district accountability information, most of which has been already presented to the public. For example, on district End of Course Tests, SDOC was above the state Percent Ready rates on all subjects except US History and the Constitution.
The Work Keys tests indicate the real world work skills of SDOC students and is an important measure for the district in preparing for the future. On the Work Keys test, the district percentage of students earning platinum, gold, or silver certificates was above the state rates on two of the three subject areas. The district Percent Ready for the Applied Mathematics test was 74.6%, while the state rate was 72.4%. The district Percent Ready on Locating Information was 79.5%, while the state rate was 76.8%. Finally, the district Percent Ready for Reading for Information test was 92.9% while the state rate was 93.9%.
The district is currently making an effort to provide more work-based experiences for students to better prepare them for the workplace. In 2016, 28.8% of SDOC students participated in work-based experiences, up from 10.9% in 2015. While Superintendent Michael Thorsland is generally pleased with the District’s performance, he noted that, “In the School District of Oconee County, we remain focused on achieving our goal of being one of the top ten districts in South Carolina. We are committed to the belief that every student is capable of leaving us College- and Career-Ready.”
The district percentage of SDOC seniors eligible for LIFE Scholarship was 59.8% in 2016 compared to 38.6% for the state. The 2016 District Report Card shows the SDOC four-year state graduation rate at 84.1%, up from 81.5% in 2015. In spring of 2016, the School District of Oconee County included Tamassee-Salem with a graduation rate of 72.7%, Seneca at 88.9%, Walhalla at 85.8%, and West-Oak at 80.6%. These are compared to the state graduation rate of 82.6%. “If we are to achieve our goal, our first priority must be to reduce the number of students leaving the school system before they are ready,” said Thorsland.
The District Report Card includes information on many other fields and provides district officials with data that assist in decision making. For example, the number of SDOC students enrolled in dual enrollment courses decreased from 77 in 2015 to 50 in 2016 even though the number of dual enrollment courses offered in 2015-2016 increased from 10 to 13. Also, the number of students passing Advanced Placement examinations fell from 57.6 in 2015 to 52.3% in 2016.
Thorsland stated, "We are pleased but not satisfied. We know our students are capable of so much more. We are determined to help them set and achieve high goals so they will be College- and Career-Ready when they leave the School District of Oconee County.”
The district and school report cards can be found on the South Carolina Department of Education website at ed.sc.gov or by clicking on this link.