‘Significant work to be done’: SC Dept. of Education releases college, career assessments

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 5:53 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina’s Department of Education says the state’s schools showed progress in making sure students are prepared for college and careers, but acknowledged more still needs to be done.

The state released results for Ready to Work and End-of-Course Examination Program assessment tests taken for high school courses in the 2021-2022 school year.

“Preparing students to meet college- and career- readiness standards must not just be an aspiration in our state. It’s a responsibility that all of us must play a role in, as we pursue meaningful solutions,” Education Superintendent Molly Spearman said. “This is just one measure of student performance that we will use to guide the work ahead. We will build on the progress and look forward to exploring and pursuing meaningful actions that will make an impact on student achievement.”

The End-of-Course Examination Program provides tests in high school core courses and for courses taken in middle school for high school credit. The program tests the following subject areas: Algebra 1; English 2; US History and the Constitution; and Biology 1.

Tested in 2019
Tested in 2021
Tested in 2022
Mean Score
Mean Score
Mean Score
Algebra 161,27852,61064,93468.3465.8468.12
Biology 157,52151,52960,33168.7665.2766.14
English 159,365328N/A73.4954.58N/A
English 2N/A49,71159,698N/A76.5476.52
U.S. History/Constitution52,21145,25353,11369.0364.5965.07

The mean score for Algebra increased from 65.84 in 2021 to 68.12 in 2022, nearly returning to the pre-pandemic mean scores of 68.34. Biology and U.S. History mean scores also increased in 2022 but were lower than in 2019, while English 2 mean scores were nearly identical at 76.54 in 2021 and 76.52 in 2022.

“We acknowledge the growth and improvement shown in the results as compared to 2021, but we also recognize that there is significant work to be done,” Spearman said.

Program data by subject showed mixed results. While the number of students scoring F decreased in all subjects but U.S. History, the percentage of F scores remains significant in Algebra (34.01%), Biology (42.52%) and U.S. History and the Constitution (43.55%). Nearly 16% of students taking the English 2 EOCEP exam scored F.

The Ready to Work program is a career-readiness assessment that was administered to all 11th-grade students for the first time in the spring of 2018 to determine student achievement in three key subjects: Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information, and Locating Information. It also includes the Essential Soft Skills assessment that provides information about a student’s skills in areas such as problem-solving, goal setting, decision-making, and self-direction. These skills play a vital role in workplace success.

Of the 6,616 students tested in 2021-2022, 62.2 percent earned certificates.

R2W provides a customized credential that shows a student’s ability to perform complex tasks and their qualifications for a broad range of jobs. There are four certificate levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. To earn a Bronze certificate, the student must score a minimum of 3 on all assessments (Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information, and Locating Information). For Silver a minimum of 4 is required, for Gold a minimum of 5 is required, and for Platinum a minimum of 6 is required.

Total Students

The SCDE did not administer statewide WorkKeys assessment examinations last year, but they were administered at the district level.