GCS News Release

  South Carolina Education Oversight Committee

Posted June 14, 2005

Eight Greenville County Schools Identified by Education Oversight Committee as Reducing the Achievement Gap

Greenville, SC -- Six Greenville County elementary schools and two middle schools have been identified in a study released by the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee (EOC) Monday as reducing the achievement gap for at least one historically underachieving student group.

In the third annual achievement gap study which uses results of the 2004 Palmetto Achievement Challenge Tests (PACT), 132 elementary and middle schools out of 833 statewide were shown to have high overall student achievement for at least one target subgroup – African American students, Hispanic students, or students participating in the free/reduced price lunch program. The achievement gap was defined in the study as the differences in achievement between the target group (the lower-scoring demographic group) and the comparison group (the higher-scoring group) at various PACT performance levels (Basic, Proficient, Advanced.)

Greenville County schools showing improvement are Oakview Elementary, Skyland Elementary, Simpsonville Elementary, Buena Vista Elementary, Westcliffe Elementary, Bell’s Crossing Elementary, Mauldin Middle, and Riverside Middle.

Greenville County Schools Superintendent Dr. Phinnize J. Fisher said, “We believe all students can achieve and all schools can be effective at closing achievement gaps. This year’s study emphasizes the need for parents and the community to take strong, positive roles in the lives of young people and within schools to meet our student achievement goals.”

The average achievement of target groups (African American students, Hispanic students, and students eligible for the free or reduced price lunch program) in schools identified as reducing the achievement gap was comparable to the high achievement levels attained by comparison groups (white students and pay lunch students) statewide. At least one target student group in the identified schools scored at the level of or higher than the performance of the comparison student group statewide for at least one of the two subject areas tested (English/language arts or mathematics) on PACT.

The EOC study focused on three areas:

1. The level of achievement gaps between the target groups and the comparison groups using 2002, 2003, and 2004 PACT data in ELA and mathematics.
2. The degree to which a gap exists among demographic categories.
3. The identification and characteristics of schools that were reducing the achievement gap for at least one target group in at least one subject area.

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