Letter To The Editor
By Alex Saitta
November 26, 2012
This was a letter to the editor I mailed to the local newspapers.
Thank you for reporting on the “Good” grade the Pickens County School District received on its 2011-12 state report card.
I find the district and school report cards difficult to evaluate because they contain so much information — at least 50 variables are reported/ measured. Some are critical like the graduation rate. Some are less so, like the number of schools in the district.
Myself, I zero on the measures that gauge all student performance. The PASS is taken by all 3rd through 8th graders in five subject areas. The percentage of students scoring at or above grade level rose from 76.7% to 78.7% this past year. In high school, the exit exam is the assessment taken by all students. The percentage of students passing both subjects on the exit exam on the first try rose from 83.3% to 84.0%. The on-time graduation rate rose from 72.6% to 75.2%. Unlike the SAT or ACT (both were up too), and things like the end of course tests, those three assessments measure all students, so it is best to focus on those when evaluating a district’s overall performance.
There are two clear themes the improvement.
Our teachers, administrators, support employees, students and parents have risen to the challenge and are doing a good job in a tough environment.
Additionally, it is possible to improve academic results with a balanced budget that doesn’t raise tax rates, borrow money or spend down savings.