Trends In PASS Scores 
By Alex Saitta 
December 24, 2012 
 
Listed on the South Carolina State Department of Education website are the PASS scores for each school for every district in the state for 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. The PASS is taken by all students from 3rd to 8th grade in the subjects of English, writing math, science and social studies.  
 
I looked at the percentage of students that scored at or above grade level in each of our schools in the five subjects. For each year, I calculated the average score for all subjects taken by the students at that school For example, in 2009, on average 70.8% of the grade students at Pickens Middle scored at or above grade level in the five subject areas. In 2010, on average 72.7% tested at or above grade level. In 2011 and 2012 that figure was 68.5% and 68.9% respectively. 
 
I evaluated each school’s test scores in two ways.  
 
Did the school score significantly high or low on the latest PASS exam? Nearly 80% of the students in Pickens County tested at or above grade level in the subject areas. I categorized a school’s score as high when on average 85% or more students scored above grade level in the 5 subjects tested. A school’s score was categorized as low if on average more than 75% of the students scored below grade level in the 5 subjects tested. 
 
In 2012, on average 90.3% of Ambler Elementary’s 3rd, 4th and 5th graders in the five subject areas scored at or above grade level. Clemson Elementary had a score of 90.3%, Six Mile Elementary was 87.9% and Crosswell Elementary had an average score of 86.2%. These four schools scored high.  
 
In 2012, on average 74.3% of Gettys Middle 6th, 7th and 8th graders in the five subject areas scored at or above grade level. Pickens Middle had a score of 68.9%, Hagood Elementary was 67.7% and McKissick Elementary had an average score of 64.2%. These four schools scored low.  
 
The remaining elementary and middle schools scored in-between 75% and 85% in 2012, so they neither scored high or low.  
 
Some schools have parents who are more involved, some have high special ed populations, and other schools are in areas of lower income, so only determining if a school scored high or low doesn’t tell you a lot. What is more telling is how does a particular school perform over time? 
 
Next I asked, from 2009 to 2012 did the school’s score rise or fall significantly? If the score rose more than 4 percentage points over the four years or an average of 1 point per year, it rose significantly. If the score fell more than 4 points over the four years, it fell significantly.  
 
PASS test results significantly rose at these schools over the four years. 
 
Dacusville Middle’s average score rose from 71.8% in 2009 to 81.8% in 2012 or a chart topping 10 percentage point gain over the four years. Pickens Elementary’s average score rose from 71.6% in 2009 to 78.5% in 2012 for a 6.9 point gain. Ambler Elementary’s average score rose from 84.8% in 2009 to 90.3% in 2012 or by 5.5 points. Six Mile Elementary’s average score rose from 82.8% in 2009 to 87.9% in 2012 or by 5.1 points.  
 
Dacusville Middle, Ambler, Pickens Elementary and Six Mile had gains every year. For example, Ambler scored 84.8% in 2009, 85.5% in 2010, 88.4% in 2011 and 90.3% in 2012. That’s consistency. 
 
West End Elementary rose from 79.2% in 2009 to 84.1% in 2012 for a 5.0 point gain. In 2009 McKissick Elementary scored 59.6%. In 2012 it scored 64.2%. That was a 4.6 point gain.  At both schools the gains came in two of the four years of 2011 and 2012.  
 
In 2009, on average, 69.2% of students attending Liberty Middle scored at or above grade level. In 2012 that figure was 76.2%. That was a 6.8 point gain over the four years. Most of the gain came in 2012.  
 
PASS test results at these three schools saw a significant decline over the 2009 to 2012 period. Hagood Elementary score in 2009 averaged 77.4% and it fell to 67.4% in 2012 for a 9.7 point decline. Holly Springs Elementary fell from 88.4% in 2009 to 83.5% in 2012 or by 4.9 points; Forest Acres was down 87.6% to 83.4% or by 4.2 points over the four years.  
 
The rest of the elementary and middle schools did not show significant gains or losses on the PASS over the 2009 to 2012 period.  
 
 
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