PICKENS COUNTY — ACT ASPIRE test scores for the 2014-2015 school year show SDPC students performing above national averages in most areas, especially math and science.
ASPIRE is a test for students in grades 3-8, which is aligned the ACT, a college readiness exam taken by many high school students. As opposed to other assessments such as SCPASS, which determines whether students have reached a base level of proficiency for each grade level, ASPIRE seeks to predict whether students are on track to be ready for college.
“ASPIRE defines ‘college ready’ as a student being on track toward having a 50 percent chance of getting a ‘B’ in a college course, or a 75 percent chance of getting a ‘C’,” said Sharon Huff. “This is a very different way of assessing students from what South Carolina has done in the past.”
Students in third through eighth grade were tested in five subjects: English, Math, Reading, Science, and Writing. The national averages for college readiness vary widely, from as high as 73 percent in eighth grade English to 16 percent in third grade writing.
SDPC’s scores showed similar variation, with a high of 77.4 percent readiness in eighth grade English, and a low of 11.9 percent in third and fifth grade writing. However, SDPC students showed consistent strength in Math and Science, performing above national averages in every grade level in in those subjects.
Overall, SDPC students were more college-ready than national averages in 20 out of 30 grade levels and subject areas.
“We can learn an enormous amount from the data ASPIRE has given us,” Huff said. “It’s encouraging to see good results in math and science, especially because other assessments in the past have not shown Math to be our strongest subject. On the other hand, it’s clear that some of the ways we are teaching writing at the elementary level doesn’t match up with how ASPIRE assesses our students. We’re continuing to comb through the results of this test to find ways to help our teacher and students grow.”