Rob Novit’s Aug. 7 article in the Aiken Standard, “Aiken schools struggle in ‘bridge’ year tests,” does an excellent job of calling attention to the confusion created by our State Department of Education. However, the article erroneously implies Aiken’s ELA PASS scores fell in all grade levels. Compared to the 2013 results, the 2014 third grade mean score in writing increased by 5.5 points, and the percentage of third grade students scoring “met” and “exemplary” in writing rose by 8.4 percent. Similar gains took place in fourth and fifth writing scores as well, with the fourth grade mean score increasing from 620.8 to 629.8 and the fifth grade mean rising from 635.0 to 635.8. The number of 4th grade students scoring “met” and “exemplary” in writing moved from 69.8 percent to 74.7 percent, and the 5th grade students scoring in those categories rose from 73.7 percent to 78.2 percent.
Though Aiken’s schools need to continue making growth in several areas, our elementary students, teachers, and principals deserve recognition for the progress they made on the writing section of the 2014 PASS.