South Carolina – Accountability

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The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. ESSA requires states to submit plans to the U.S. Department of Education (US ED) describing the state systems for evaluating school performance and holding schools accountable for improvement. States could submit their plans to the US ED by either April 3 or September 18, 2017. After receiving feedback on their plans from the US ED, states finalize their plans. State accountability systems take effect in school year 2017-18.

SREB developed this profile based on analysis of the plan South Carolina submitted to the US ED on October 13, 2017. (South Carolina received an extension from the US ED to submit its plan late, due to Hurricane Irma.) SREB will update the profile when South Carolina finalizes its plan.

State Highlights: Expectations for College and Career Readiness

States are not required to include college- and career-readiness expectations in their accountability systems under ESSA. Many SREB states, however, did set college- and career-readiness expectations in their plans, in the form of long-term goals and school performance indicators. South Carolina included the following college- and career-readiness expectations in its plan.

  1. Long-term goals. ESSA requires that states establish long-term goals based on academic achievement, high school graduation rate and English language proficiency for English learners. In addition to setting goals in these areas, South Carolina also established two college- and career-readiness goals:
    • By 2035, 90 percent of students will graduate from high school “college, career and citizenship ready,” as defined in the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate.
    • Between 2020 and 2035, the percentage of high school students graduating ready to enter postsecondary education without the need for remediation in English language arts or math will increase annually by 5 percent.
  2. School performance indicator. ESSA requires states to set an indicator for school quality or student success, which can, but does not have to, include such measures as school climate and safety, student engagement and college readiness. South Carolina’s indicator awards high schools points for student achievement on any of the following milestones.
    • College readiness
      • Composite score of 20 or higher on the ACT exam, score of 1020 or higher on the SAT exam, score of 3 or higher on an AP exam, or score of 4 or higher on an IB exam
      • Completion of six hours of dual credit coursework, with a “C” or higher letter grade  
    • Career readiness
      • Silver certificate or higher on the ACT WorkKeys exam or score of 31 or higher on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery
      • Completion of youth apprenticeship program or career and technical education pathway with an industry-recognized credential

Read about these expectations below in the profile.

Long-Term Goals

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states establish long-term goals for all students and student groups based on academic achievement, high school graduation rate and English language proficiency for English learners.

South Carolina established the following long-term goals.

Academic achievement

  • By 2035, 90 percent of students will reach level 2 on South Carolina’s English language arts and math assessments.
  • By 2035, 70 percent of students will be proficient on South Carolina’s English language arts and math assessments.

Graduation rate

  • By 2035, 90 percent of students will graduate from high school in four years.

English language proficiency

  • By 2035, 70 percent of English learners will meet annual English language proficiency growth targets.

College and career readiness

  • By 2035, 90 percent of students will graduate from high school “college, career and citizenship ready,” as defined in the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate.
  • Between 2020 and 2035, the percentage of high school students graduating ready to enter postsecondary education without the need for remediation in English language arts or math will increase annually by 5 percent.

School Performance Indicators

ESSA specifies a set of indicators states must use to assess school performance. Indicators for all schools must include academic achievement as measured by proficiency on annual state assessments of English language arts and math in grades three through eight and once in high school. States must require 95 percent of students to participate in these assessments and factor this requirement into the school accountability system. States must also include two more indicators for all schools – English language proficiency for English learners and an indicator of school quality or student success, such as school climate and safety, student engagement and college readiness. For elementary and middle grades schools, states must include an additional academic indicator of the state’s choice, such as student growth on state assessments. For high schools, states must also include an indicator of four-year cohort graduation rate.

South Carolina established the following indicators of school performance.

Level Indicators

All schools

Academic achievement: Schools must meet the 95 percent participation rate for all students and subgroups

English language proficiency:

  • Progressing towards English proficiency – WIDA ACCESS for ELLs 2.0
  • Reaching proficiency – WIDA ACCESS for ELLs 2.0

School quality or student success

  • Preparing for success: Weighted achievement on state science and social studies assessments – SCPASS and end-of-course examination program (EOCEP)
  • Positive and effective learning environment – student engagement survey for grades three through 12

Elementary and middle grades

Academic achievement: Weighted achievement on state English language arts and math assessments – SC READY

Other academic indicator: Student growth on state English language arts and math assessments – SC READY

  • Growth of all students
  • Growth of the lowest-performing quintile of students

High schools

Academic achievement

  • Weighted achievement on state English language arts and math assessments – EOCEP

Graduation rate

  • Four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate

School quality or student success: Student achievement on any of the following milestones.

  • College readiness
    • Composite score of 20 or higher on the ACT exam, score of 1020 or higher on the SAT exam, score of 3 or higher on an AP exam, or score of 4 or higher on an IB exam
    • Completion of six hours of dual credit coursework, with a “C” or higher letter grade 
  • Career readiness
    • Silver certificate or higher on the ACT WorkKeys exam; or score of 31 or higher on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery
    • Completion of youth apprenticeship program or career and technical education pathway with an industry-recognized credential

Annual Meaningful Differentiation

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states use their performance indicators to differentiate the performance of all schools and to report performance for all students and all student subgroups. States have flexibility in assigning weight to their indicators, so long as their indicators of academic achievement, graduation rate and English language proficiency progress together receive much greater weight than their school quality or student success indicators.

South Carolina established the following framework for differentiating schools, weights for each indicator, and student subgroups and subgroup size.

Framework for differentiating schools in South Carolina

On an annual basis, schools will receive a narrative rating for each indicator (excellent, good, average, below average or unsatisfactory), based on cut scores that will vary by indicator. Schools will also receive an overall narrative rating (excellent, good, average, below average or unsatisfactory), based on the sum of the indicator scores.

Weights assigned to each indicator in South Carolina

Weights assigned to each indicator in South Carolina - Elementary and Middle Grades (35% Academic Achievement / 35% Other Academic Indicator / 20% School Quality or Student Success / 10% English Language Proficiency Progress) and High Schools (40% School Quality or Student Success / 25% Academic Achievement / 25% Graduation Rate / 10% English Language Proficiency Progress)

Student subgroups in South Carolina

  • Subgroups used: For state accountability, South Carolina will focus on eight student subgroups: economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, English learners, American Indian or Alaska native students, Asian or Pacific islander students, black students, Hispanic or Latino students, and white students. South Carolina will also report data from five additional subgroups: students in foster care, gifted students, homeless students, migrant students and military-affiliated students.
  • Size of subgroups: In instances in which schools do not meet the threshold of 20 students (n-count) for any of the subgroups for an indicator, the school will not be held accountable for performance on that indicator.   

Identifying, Serving and Exiting Schools from Needs Improvement Status

ESSA requires that states establish a methodology for identifying low-performing schools. States must identify two categories of schools at least once every three years: those that need Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) and those that need Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI). States may also establish other categories of schools, for example those not in need of improvement.

South Carolina established the following identification and exit criteria and interventions to support schools.

Comprehensive Support and Improvement

How schools are identified

    South Carolina will use the designations “priority schools” and CSI schools. Identified every three years beginning in 2017-18, schools that meet any of the following criteria. 

    • Priority schools:
      • Title I schools in the bottom 10 percent statewide in overall performance
      • Non-Title I schools in the bottom 10 percent statewide in overall performance
      • Any high school with less than a 70 percent graduation rate
    • CSI schools:
      • Title I schools in the bottom 10 percent statewide in overall performance
    • TSI schools: Title I TSI schools with a “chronically underperforming” subgroup that performs below the all-students subgroup at the highest-performing Title I CSI school across all indicators for two consecutive identification cycles

    Interventions to meet improvement needs

    State will help local education agencies and their schools by providing:

    • Resource allocation review every three years
    • Formula grants
    • Monthly support from school transformation coaches
    • Diagnostic reviews, needs assessments and leadership capacity reviews
    • Technical assistance with improvement planning and progress monitoring
    • Guidance – more directive than for TSI schools – for selecting evidence-based strategies and using technical assistance funds
    • Contract services for professional learning
    • Support using data to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions

    After three years, for schools failing to exit CSI status, the state may require more rigorous interventions including amending the school renewal plans, selecting state-approved interventions, and participating in the highest level of state support and intervention.

    Criteria for exiting this category

      After three years, schools can exit CSI status.  Requirements by level include the following.

      • Elementary and middle grades
        • Receive an overall performance rating above the bottom 5 percent of schools statewide and a student growth rating of “good”
        • Improve the identified student subgroup performance on the positive and effective learning environment measure above all students at the highest-performing Title I CSI school, and receive a student growth rating of “good”  
      • High schools
        • Receive an overall performance rating above the bottom 5 percent of schools statewide and a 3 percent increase in the average number of points earned on the college- and career-readiness measure
        • Achieve a graduation rate of 70 percent or higher and a 3 percent increase in the average number of points earned on the readiness measure
        • Raise the identified student subgroup performance above that of the all-students subgroup at the highest-performing Title I CSI school, and achieve a 3 percent increase in the average number of points earned on the readiness measure
      Targeted Support and Improvement

      How schools are identified

        • TSI schools: Identified annually beginning in 2020-21, any school with a “consistently underperforming” student subgroup that has performed at or below all students at the bottom 10 percent of schools statewide across all indicators for three consecutive years
        • Additional TSI schools: Identified every three years beginning in 2018-19, any school with a “low-performing” student subgroup that has performed at or below all students at the bottom 5 percent of schools statewide across all indicators

        Interventions to meet improvement needs

          State will help local education agencies and their schools by providing:

          • Resource allocation review every three years
          • Formula grants, based on local need
          • Quarterly support from school transformation coaches
          • Diagnostic reviews, needs assessments and leadership capacity reviews
          • Technical assistance with school improvement planning and progress monitoring    
          • Guidance – less directive than for CSI schools – for selecting evidence-based strategies and using technical assistance funds
          • Contract services for professional learning
          • Support using data to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions

          Criteria for exiting this category

            • TSI schools: After three years, schools can exit TSI status by having any identified student subgroup for at least two of the three identified years, achieve performance above the three-year average of all students at the highest-performing school in the bottom 5 percent statewide in academic achievement, other academic indicator and college- and career-readiness measure
            • Additional TSI schools: After one year, schools can exit additional TSI status by having identified student subgroup perform above all students at the bottom 5 percent of schools statewide in academic achievement, other academic indicator and college- and career-readiness measure

            This profile was prepared by Kim Anderson, SREB’s director of benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards, Mary Elizabeth Mira, SREB’s assistant director of benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards, Tiffany Harrison, SREB’s research associate for benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards and Jeff Gagné, SREB’s director of policy analysis. For more information, please contact Kim Anderson at kim.anderson@sreb.org or Jeff Gagné at jeff.gagne@sreb.org.