This statutory database is current through the 2003 Regular Session of the South Carolina General Assembly. Changes to the statutes enacted by the 2004 General Assembly, which will convene in January 2004, will be incorporated as soon as possible. Some changes enacted by the 2004 General Assembly may take immediate effect. The State of South Carolina and the South Carolina Legislative Council make no warranty as to the accuracy of the data, and users rely on the data entirely at their own risk.
Title 59 - Education
BASIC SKILLS ASSESSMENT PROGRAM
Duties of State Board of Education concerning state basic skills assessment program.
The State Board of Education, through the State Department of Education, shall:
(a) Establish statewide educational objectives in the basic skills for kindergarten through grade twelve and establish minimum standards of student achievement for readiness and Grades 1, 2, 3, 6, 8 and 11. The term 'basic skills' shall include mathematics and the communication skills of reading and writing. The minimum standards for readiness and Grades 1, 2, 3, 6, 8 and 11 shall be designed to reflect the level of skill mastery, as determined by the State Board of Education, each student is expected to have attained at the various grades.
(b)(1) Establish a state basic skills assessment program that shall include the administration to all public school students at the beginning of grade one a readiness test that will be designed to measure a student's readiness to begin the formal school curriculum. The results of the readiness test shall be used to provide appropriate developmental activities in the first grade.
(2) Provide for the administration of the readiness test at the beginning of the school year in grade one. Based on the results of the test, the school district shall advise the parents of any student not indicating readiness for first grade work to secure a complete physical examination for that child. Such advice by the school district shall contain information about local governmental health services that are available.
(c)(1) As a part of the basic skills assessment program, develop or select criterion-referenced tests that can measure student achievement in reading and mathematics in grades one, two and three against the standard established for each of those respective grades.
(2) Cause to be administered the tests provided for herein to all public school students at the end of grades one, two and three. The purpose of the tests shall be that of diagnosis of student deficiencies and that of an aid in determining instruction needed by the student in achieving the minimum statewide standard established for each respective grade.
(d)(1) As a part of the basic skills assessment program, develop or select criterion-referenced tests that can measure student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics in grades six and eight against the standard established for each of those respective grades.
(2) Cause to be administered the test provided for grade six to all public school students at the end of grade six and shall cause to be administered the test provided for grade eight to all public school students at the end of grade eight. The purpose of the tests shall be that of diagnosis of student deficiencies and that of an aid in determining instruction needed by the student in achieving the minimum statewide standard established for each respective grade.
(e) Develop or select, and field test, tests that will measure student achievement in the basic skills areas of reading, writing, and mathematics at the end of grade 11 which shall include items requiring the application of school skills to life situations. The field test shall be conducted for the purpose of establishing the reliability and validity of the test.
(f) Beginning in the school year 1981-82 and continuing through the school year 1984-85, administer the test specified in item (e) of this section to all students in grade eleven for the purpose of collecting baseline data. The Department of Education shall use the baseline data for the purpose of program assessment and shall provide assistance to those schools or districts in which the data indicate that program adjustment or modification is most needed due to inordinate numbers of children not passing the test. The State Board of Education shall use the baseline data for the purpose of determining the high school credentials to be awarded students not meeting the minimum achievement scores. Beginning with the school year 1985-86, the eleventh grade examination may be no longer administered and the board shall cause to be administered an exit examination to all tenth grade students. Local school districts shall establish remedial programs to assist those students who do not pass the examination. Passage of this exit examination is a condition for the receipt of a state high school diploma for those students who otherwise meet the requirements for the diploma during the school year 1989-90 and thereafter. Additionally, during the school year 1989-90 and thereafter individuals participating in adult education programs must pass the exit examination as an additional requirement for the receipt of a state high school diploma. Failure to pass the examination obligates the student to enroll in a remedial program. Students who do not pass the examination in the tenth grade must retake the test in the eleventh grade and may retake the test twice in the twelfth grade, thereby providing students with four opportunities to pass the exit examination. If an individual exits the school system at the end of the twelfth grade without having passed the exit examination, he shall be awarded an appropriate State certificate indicating the number of credits earned and grades completed or may be offered the opportunity to:
(1) accept a certificate indicating the number of credits earned and grades completed instead of a diploma;
(2) return in the fall as a senior if he is under the maximum age for attending high school, fully enroll in school, and retake the exit examination twice if necessary in the same manner it is offered to other seniors;
(3) enroll in the summer school exit exam program established below; or
(4) enroll in adult education.
For a student who has failed to pass the exit examination after four chances and who certifies that his military, educational, or other career goals must be placed on hold as a result of his failure to pass the exit exam, a summer testing of the exit exam following a remediation program in summer school after the student's twelfth grade year may be offered to allow these students to move forward with their career in a timely manner. If the student fails the exit exam following this summer program, he must then be offered the options (1), (2), or (4) referred to above. All costs related to the summer school program and summer testing of the exit exam must be paid by the student.
(g) Use utmost care to insure that to the maximum extent feasible, within existing knowledge and technology cultural bias is eliminated in the tests administered as a part of the basic skills assessment program.
(h) Purchase and distribute necessary materials for the assessment program and train state and local staff and teachers to administer the tests in the assessment program and to interpret the results of those tests.
(i) Provide for the security and integrity of the tests that are administered under the assessment program.
(j) Revise and update the tests administered under the assessment program as deemed appropriate by the department.
(k) Render advice and aid to school districts concerning their curricula and the assessment program.
(l) Report the results of the program annually to the Governor, the General Assembly, the school districts and to the general public, together with any recommendations of the South Carolina Basic Skills Advisory Commission created pursuant to Section 59-30-20.
(m) Consult with such commission concerning the implementation of, or major changes to, the provisions of this chapter.
(n) Provide school districts with information concerning basic instructional programs which have been demonstrated to be effective in developing readiness skills or in the teaching of reading, writing and mathematics. The Department of Education shall encourage school districts to adopt programs that are determined to be appropriate to the needs of their students.
(o) Provide appropriate office space, staff, equipment and supplies to the Basic Skills Advisory Commission.
Establish statewide educational objectives in science for grades one through eight and establish minimum standards of student achievement for grades three, six, and eight. The State Board of Education, through the Department of Education, also shall develop and field-test, as part of the Basic Skills Assessment Program, criterion-referenced tests that will measure student achievement in science in grades three, six, and eight against the standards established for each of these respective grades and cause to be administered the tests provided for herein to all public school students at the end of grades three, six, and eight. The purpose of the test is that of diagnosis of student deficiencies and that of an aid in determining instruction needed by the student in achieving the minimum statewide standard established for each respective grade.
Alternative assessment of written exit exam for students with disabilities; interim waiver of written exam for purposes of high school diploma for above-average performers on other measures of achievement who are otherwise qualified.
Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 59-30-10(f), by September 1, 1993, the State Department of Education shall develop an alternative assessment mechanism to the written portion of the exit exam for those students who have documented disabilities, such as severe to profound hearing disability or English as a second language. Until this alternative is developed, passing the written portion of the exit exam is waived for the purposes of receiving a state high school diploma for those students who have performed above average on other measures of achievement and who are otherwise qualified to receive the diploma.
Testing arrangements for students with learning disabilities.
(A) The State Board of Education shall provide testing arrangements for students with documented learning disabilities who take the exit examination provided for in Section 59-30-10 to minimize the effects of the learning disabilities on test performance.
(B) A documented learning disability in reading is evidenced only by special education placement, consistent with State Board of Education regulations, in a program for learning disabled students.
(C) The reading test may be administered orally to students who cannot read the test because of a documented learning disability if all of the following conditions are met:
(1) The decision to administer the test orally must be determined by the committee responsible for the preparation of the student's Individualized Education Program (IEP) as required by Public Law 94-142.
(2) The school district or other public agency responsible for the student's education maintains written documentation that pertinent parts of printed textbooks, tests, and other instructional materials used during daily instruction are normally presented orally rather than read by the student. Oral presentation may include, but is not limited to, audio cassettes, video cassettes, oral reading of tests by test administrators, or any combination of these approaches.
(3) The student's permanent record and any other school documents which contain exit examination scores must state clearly that the reading test was a measure of the student's ability to process information read to him and the obtained score is not a measure of ability to decode printed symbols. This statement must be expunged from the student's permanent record and other documents if the student subsequently takes and passes the test under standard conditions.
(D) The State Board of Education shall develop regulations which provide for appropriate methods of oral administration of the reading portion of the exit examination. Oral administrations may include, but are not limited to, audio cassettes, video cassettes, oral reading of the test by a test administrator, or any combination of these approaches. If the student qualifies for an oral administration of the reading test under the provisions of this section, the committee responsible for the preparation of the student's IEP shall select the most appropriate method of administration from among those provided for in the regulations of the State Board of Education.
(E) The parents or legal guardians of a student with documented learning disabilities whose Individualized Education Program does not provide for oral administration of the reading portion of the exit exam may appeal that decision to the State Department of Education within thirty days of receipt of notification of the decision of the IEP Committee. The Department of Education shall within twenty days convene a hearing panel composed of five members, one of whom must be a certified psychologist or specialist in learning disabilities from the State Department of Education, one of whom must be a certified psychologist from the involved local school district, one of whom must be a certified psychologist from another local school district, one of whom must be a teacher of students with learning disabilities from the involved local school district, and one of whom must be an administrator of special education programs from another local school district. The hearing panel shall conduct its proceedings in the involved school district. Documentation of the need for the oral administration may be presented in writing or in person to the panel. The panel shall review the request for an oral administration of the exam and notify the parents or legal guardians and the student's school of their decision in writing within ten days of the hearing. The decision of the review panel is binding on all parties, subject to decisions through the due process procedures set forth in Public Law 94-142.
(F) Nothing in this section precludes the State Board of Education from issuing additional regulations or guidelines governing special testing arrangements.
(G) Students with dyscalculia, and with other documented learning disabilities in mathematics as stipulated by guidelines or regulation of the State Board of Education, may use a calculator on the math portions of the exit examination.
Creation of South Carolina Basic Skills Advisory Commission; members; terms; termination of commission.
(a) There is hereby created the South Carolina Basic Skills Advisory Commission composed of twenty-five members which shall provide recommendations and advice to the Governor, General Assembly and State Board of Education on the implementation of this chapter. The State Superintendent of Education shall appoint six members, one from each congressional district, with the advice and consent of the State Board of Education. His appointments shall be persons employed professionally in public education in this State other than employees of the State Department of Education and shall include at least two classroom teachers. The Governor shall appoint seven lay persons known to be actively involved in public education issues, one from each congressional district and one at large. The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate shall each appoint six members from the general public. The terms of the members shall be for three years and until their successors are appointed and qualify. Any vacancy shall be filled in the manner of the original appointment for the unexpired portion of the term only. Every consideration shall be given to insure appropriate racial balance in appointments.
(b) Of the initial six members appointed by the State Superintendent of Education, members from the first and fourth districts shall be appointed to serve for terms of one year; members from the third and sixth districts shall be appointed to serve for terms of two years and members from the second and fifth districts shall be appointed to serve for terms of three years. Of the initial six members appointed by the Governor representing congressional districts, members from the second and fifth districts shall be appointed to serve for terms of one year; members from the third and sixth districts shall be appointed to serve for terms of two years and members from the first and fourth districts shall be appointed to serve for terms of three years. The members shall elect from among the lay members a chairman who shall serve for a term of one year and until his successor is elected and qualifies. The members of the commission shall receive such per diem, mileage and subsistence as is provided by law for members of state boards, committees and commissions to be paid from funds appropriated for the operation of the State Department of Education.
(c) The commission established by this section shall terminate June 30, 1991.
Duties of public school boards.
All public school boards, through their local school districts, shall:
(a) Participate in the basic skills assessment program established by this chapter.
(b) Adopt appropriate policies to ensure that a continuous assessment is made of an individual student's progress in relation to the statewide minimum standards of student achievement for kindergarten through grades 1, 2, 3, 6, 8 and 11.
(c) Prior to the beginning of the 1979-80 school year provide appropriate in-service training for all certified personnel implementing the basic skills assessment program to insure efficient and effective methods of instruction.
(d) Use the results of the tests administered under the basic skills assessment program to help in the diagnosis of student deficiencies.
(e) Provide basic instruction to aid the student in bringing his performance up to the statewide minimum standards for a particular grade when a deficiency is indicated by the results of the tests administered under the basic skills assessment program or other assessment procedures.
(f)(1) Provide in writing test result information to any parent or guardian of a dependent child when the parent or guardian requests such information.
(2) Provide test information and explanations of deficiencies to a parent or guardian of a dependent child found to have deficiencies and make suggestions for appropriate assistance to be given to the dependent child by the dependent child's parent or guardian.
Standards for handicapped students.
All handicapped students as defined by federal and state statutes and regulations will be included in the assessment program unless the student's individual educational plan (IEP) as required by Public Law 94-142 indicates that such assessment would be inappropriate. The inclusion or exclusion of handicapped students shall be on a case by case basis as determined by the child's IEP. In preparing IEP's for handicapped students school districts shall specifically address the appropriateness of a child's participating in the assessment program as required by this chapter.
The following timetable applying to the State Department of Education activities shall be completed not later than the year indicated but nothing herein is intended to prohibit an earlier development or field testing of the tests or use of the test results by school districts to meet their responsibilities under this chapter when test results are made available.
1978-79 (a) Identification of basic skills objectives.
1979-80 (a) Test development, field testing and test revision (grades 1
through 3, 6 and 8).
(b) Administration of readiness test - all students, grade one.
1980-81 (a) Administration of tests, (first grade readiness and grades 1
through 3, 6 and 8).
(b) Development or selection and field testing of eleventh grade
1981-82 (a) Administration of tests, (first grade readiness and grades 1
through 3, 6 and 8).
(b) Administration of eleventh grade test, collection of baseline
1982-83 (a) Administration of all tests.
1983-84 and subsequent years. Administration of all tests.
Payment of costs.
All costs relating to the provisions of this chapter shall be paid totally from state funds provided for in Section 59-20-10 to Section 59-20-80, the South Carolina Education Finance Act of 1977, as implemented by the Annual General Appropriation Act.
The State Department shall take advantage of all discounts on tests, textbooks and other materials and report same in the annual report as called for in Section 59-30-10, (l).
Notification of failures or deficiencies.
The parents or guardian of any student who does not meet the minimum standards set for any test prescribed in this chapter shall be notified in writing by the school and such notice shall be filed in the scholastic records of the student concerned.
Evaluation of curriculum and instruction methods.
The Department of Education shall take necessary administrative action to monitor and evaluate the curriculum and instruction methods in each school district, including on-site visits to selected schools, to insure compliance with the standards and purposes of this chapter.
Make up tests.
Any student who is unable to take any of the tests prescribed in the chapter because of absence from school must be given the missed test during a make-up period to be prescribed by the State Superintendent of Education. If the student is unable to take the missed test during the prescribed make-up period, the student's next opportunity to take the test is during the next regular administration of the test.
Revision of test items.
When test items for the tests prescribed by this chapter are revised, the State Board of Education shall include test items which may be utilized to evaluate students' higher order thinking skills.