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Seventeen total Aiken County schools received ratings of Excellent or Good, with six of those being in the North Augusta area, on the 2018 School Report Cards.

Aiken County School District released the ratings, which have increased performance standards this year, on a Thursday, Nov. 29 afternoon.

Belvedere Elementary, Hammond Hill Elementary and Mossy Creek Elementary each received a rating of Good. North Augusta Elementary received a rating of Excellent.

Elementary and middle schools are rated based on academic achievement, student progress (growth), preparing for success, English learners' proficiency and school quality, according to the release.

North Augusta Middle School received a rating of Below Average, while Paul Knox Middle School received a rating of Good.

North Augusta High School is the only Aiken County high school that received a rating of Excellent.

High schools are not rated on the "student progress (growth)" metric, but are also rated on graduation rate, and college and career readiness, according to the release.

“What was once considered excellent academic performance in 2014 does not meet that same level or performance criteria in 2018, and these ratings certainly reflect those increased performance expectations across our state,” stated Aiken County Superintendent Dr. Sean Alford in the release.

The release says that approximately 15 percent of schools in each level are able to be rated Excellent.

For example, there are over 650 elementary schools in the state, and under the new model, 99 schools are rated Excellent compared to 224 schools in 2014, the release says.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect that North Augusta Middle School received a Below Average rating.