ONE-ON-ONE: Richland One superintendent discusses learning progress after concerning state report cards

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — With lower than average scores in English and math, the impact of the pandemic and virtual learning on education here in Columbia can now be measured.

Only 43 percent of students in the Palmetto State met grade level expectations for English last school year, even lower in math at 37 percent.Spearman:

“I was not shocked at the results. However, I am very concerned with the results,” said Molly Spearman, South Carolina State Superintendent.

Last week’s state report cards showed that both the number of student’s scoring C or higher on end of year assessments and those meeting grade level expectations were lower than previous years and below state average for Richland One School District.

Calling these results a snapshot rather than the full picture, Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon says schools are more focused on formative assessments.

“That’s what we will use to determine growth and if we are doing the right things to move our students forward,” said the Richland One superintendent. 

However, Witherspoon says that the results do identify areas the district can improve instruction.

The state report cards showed a larger achievement gap at younger grade levels.

“We are looking at being more explicit and directed in terms of how we address literacy,” he said. “At those early levels, those skills build on themselves and the same thing with math. There’s some certain basics our students need to know and demonstrate.

Improving learning in South Carolina is also being done at the state level as well.

“Working with our districts and in-house at the Department of Education to streamline our standards and prioritize the things that really need to be taught at each grade level,” Spearman said.

Despite results that are lower than previous years in English and math, there were areas of improvement shown by Richland One School District.

“We’re proud of that fact at Richland One that our graduation rate has been higher than the state average,” Witherspoon said.

He hopes in-person instruction can help the schools identify which students may be struggling and provide intervention to get them at grade level.

However, it’s a community-wide effort.

“The best thing to do is for all of us to do what we can to keep students in school, such as getting the vaccine and other things so that we can certainly address the issues and concerns,” the superintendent said. “From a long-term perspective, we can get our student’s where we need to be despite the challenges we face right now.”

State-wide, the number of students scoring C or higher on end of year assessments was 63 percent in English and 47 percent in math.

Categories: Local News, Richland