The 2012 annual district report cards were released this morning and while graduation rates across the state went up for the second straight year, Aiken County was below the state averages on all of the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards tests.

Statewide, the 74.9 percent graduation rate is the highest it has been since the 2007-08 school year. In Aiken County, the graduation rate of 75.6 percent, although it raised by 2 percent from last year, is slightly lower than the average of similar districts at 76.3.

The Aiken County School district stayed at “Average” for its absolute rating, but saw its growth rating jump from “Below Average” to “Good.”

The “Good” rating means that school performance exceeds the standards for progress toward the 2020 SC Performance Vision. Out of the 23 districts similar to and including Aiken County, 11 were awarded “Excellent” absolute ratings, six earned “Good,” five earned “Average” and just one was named “At-Risk.” 

Among the highest performing Title I schools in the state, seven are from Aiken County. Those schools are Leavelle-McCampbell Middle, New Ellenton Middle, Byrd Elementary, Clearwater Elementary, Gloverville Elementary, Jackson Middle and Oakwood-Windsor Elementary.

The only school in the area to be named a priority school, or among the lowest 5 percent in the state, was Wagener-Salley High.

The percentage of students in Aiken County who failed to meet the grade level standards in the PASS tests was above the average of similar districts across the board. The worst tested subject locally was Social Studies, where 32 percent of Aiken County students failed to meet the PASS grade level standard.

The graduation rate and drop-out rate in Aiken County fell from last year, but the number of students per teacher rose from 23.2 to 24.5. Aiken County also saw its opportunity in the arts grade dropped from "Excellent" to "Poor."

Editor's note: There is currently a discrepancy in scores reported by the state and those reported by Aiken County. We will update this web story as soon as the Aiken Standard receives updated information from the State Department of Education.