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      SC test scores fall in all grades, in most subjects

      COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina's elementary and middle school students posted worse overall scores on state-standardized tests last spring across all grades compared to 2013.

      The Education Oversight Committee says students' scores are disappointing, but a drop was expected as teachers transitioned to new benchmarks for what students must learn in math and reading.

      Passing rates on the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards range between 63.5 percent in third-grade science to 83.7 percent in fourth-grade social studies. The tests are taken by third- through eighth-graders in five subjects: writing, reading, math, science and social studies.

      The percentage of students passing fell in 22 of the 30 total tests taken. The worst drops occurred in sixth- and seventh-grade reading. Both declined by 5 percentage points.

      State Superintendent of Education Dr. Mick Zais said in a released statement that he encourages people to examine the results

      â??While we have not made substantial gains, we have seen similar results in past years. There are several areas of high accomplishment. We have narrowed 24 out of 30 achievement gaps between disabled students and those without a disability," he said. "While weâ??re making progress slowly but surely, a greater focus on literacy is necessary for us to see further improvements. We currently have the best teachers in South Carolina writing new English Language Arts and math standards, and we are going to ensure these new standards are tough, rigorous, and fully prepare our students for higher education and careers. We need to make sure these standards translate to improved learning in the classroom."

      To view all the scores, including those for the Grand Strand and Pee Dee visit the Department of Education's PASS page.