State standardized test scores were released Thursday for South Carolina schools.
A bigger percentage of public school students met state standards for the South Carolina's Palmetto Assessment of State Standards test, according to the South Carolina Dept. of Education.
Four out of five high school students passed the state's high school exit exam on their first try, according to the SC Dept. of Education.
The mean scale score for Palmetto Assessment of State Standards increased in every grade in English-Language Arts and more students reached "Exemplary" proficiency in every grade except one, according to the SC Dept. of Education.
"It is good news that the number of students demonstrating reading proficiency in third grade has increased," said the State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais in a statement. But he added that nearly 20 percent of students finish third grade below the reading level.
Achievement gaps between white and black students got smaller in 15 out of 24 possible areas. The achievement gap narrowed in 11 out of 24 areas between White and Hispanic students.
Achievement for black students increased in 15 of 24 areas and achievement for Hispanic students increased in 16 of 24 areas. But white student achievement increased in 19 of 24 areas and at faster rates, according to the SC Dept. of Education.
The number of students who passed High School Assessment Program the first time increased slightly by 0.7 percent to 80.1 percent over 2011.
In Hampton County, Wade Hampton High and Hampton 1 tied at 80.8 percent who passed among each of the schools 167 test takers.
In Beaufort County, Beaufort had the biggest number of students take the test at 1,334 and 81.4 percent passed. Bluffton High had the highest passage rate at 86.5 percent among 349 test takers. Beaufort High had 80.1 percent pass among the 366 test takers. At Hilton Head High 81.7 percent passed among 301 test takers. At Battery Creek, 78.9 passed among 175 test takers. Whale Branch had 79.0 percent passed among 119 students. H.E. McCracken Middle had 54.2 percent pass among 24 students.
In Jasper County, Hardeeville Middle/High had the highest percentage of students pass at 59.7 among its 67 test takers. Jasper High School had 55.2 percent pass among 172 test takers and Ridgeland High had 52.4 percent pass among 52.4 test takers.
It's the second time students reached above 80 percent since 2004, according to the SC Dept. of Education. The mean scale score increased in mathematics for every student subgroup except one, but the mean scale score for English-Language Arts declined in every student subgroup.
"To improve in both areas will require a personalized and customized education in grades K-8 so students are prepared for rigorous high school courses," said Zais in a statement.
Zais plans to propose a redesign of the standardized testing system for the General Assembly's consideration, according to the SC Department of Education news release.
Achievement gaps got smaller between white and black students on HSAP English-Language Arts, but the gap increased in math. The achievement gap between white and Hispanic students narrowed for mathematics, but the gap got bigger for English-Language Arts.
Public school students must pass both the HSAP ELA and mathematics tests to meet the state's exit examination requirement for a diploma.
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View standardardized test results for South Carolina schools from the South Carolina Dept. of Education.