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Assessments

Assessments
Below is a list of the assessments the South Carolina Department of Education has determined must be given to students across the state for each school year.
 
Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS)
4-Year-Old Prekindergarten

First 45 days of school and last 45 days of school

Richland School District Two administers the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) assessment to each 4-year-old prekindergarten student during the first 45 days of the school year and during the last 45 days of the school year.  PALS is a formative assessment that is individually administered by the teacher. It measures preschoolers’ developing knowledge of important fundamentals in literacy skills: name writing ability, upper-case and lower-case alphabet recognition, letter sound and beginning sound production, print and word awareness, rhyme awareness, and nursery rhyme awareness. The assessment reflects skills that are predictive of future reading success and offers guidance to teachers for tailoring instruction to children’s specific needs.

 

Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA)
5-Year-Old Kindergarten

First 45 days of school

Richland School District Two administers the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) during the first 45 days of the school year. KRA is a developmentally appropriate instrument that measures a child’s school readiness across multiple domains.  Understanding a child’s school readiness helps kindergarten teachers best meet the child’s needs, and it helps schools, families, communities and policy makers know how best to support young children as they enter the K-12 environment. KRA determines each child’s readiness level from an evaluation of four domains: Social Foundations, Language/Literacy, Mathematics, and Physical Well-Being.  KRA provides a snapshot of students’ abilities at the beginning of the school year.

 

Gifted and Talented Assessments
Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) and Iowa Assessments (IA)
Grade 2

October annually
 
Districts are required to provide services for all Gifted and Talented students at the elementary and secondary levels. Students are identified for this program by demonstrating high performance ability or potential in academic and/or artistic areas. In accordance with State Board of Education regulation 43-220, Richland School District Two administers an aptitude and an achievement assessment for this purpose. Although the primary purpose of these assessments is to identify students for the Gifted and Talented programs, the student results can be useful to teachers as they examine their instructional practices and can help them identify teaching strategies for all students.


Gifted and Talented Assessments
South Carolina Performance Task Assessments
Grades 2-5 

Mid-February – March annually
 
As a part of the process to assist in the identification of students for participation in programs for the Gifted and Talented, the South Carolina Department of Education and the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary developed this performance-based assessment instrument for the identification of intellectually advanced elementary students for inclusion in Gifted and Talented programs. Eligible students are identified by their school districts and must meet the criteria specified in Regulation 43-220.
 

 

ACCESS for ELLs and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs
English Language Proficiency Assessments
Grades K–12

January – March annually

States must administer an English language proficiency assessment to Limited English Proficient (LEP) students in grades K-12 in order to comply with the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The assessment administered for this purpose is ACCESS for ELLs or Alternate ACCESS for ELLs (for students in grades 1-12 who are classified as LEP and have significant cognitive disabilities that prevent their meaningful participation in the ACCESS for ELLs). All students in grades K-12 (or 1-12 for Alternate ACCESS for ELLs) who are determined to have Limited English Proficiency, based upon the completion of a Home Language Survey and the initial assessment of their English proficiency, must take ACCESS for ELLs or Alternate ACCESS for ELLs each spring. This includes those students whose parents have waived direct ESOL services. LEP students must continue to take the assessment until they meet the requirements for full English proficiency as established by the Office of Federal and State Accountability.
 

End-of-Course Examination Program (EOCEP)
For students enrolled in Algebra 1 or Intermediate Algebra, English 2, Biology 1, or US History and Constitution

Last 15 instructional days of the semester (or school year) in which the course is taken

The End-of-Course Examination Program (EOCEP) is a statewide assessment program of end-of-course tests for gateway courses awarded units of credit in English/language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. The EOCEP encourages instruction in the specific standards for the courses, encourages student achievement, and documents the level of students’ mastery of the academic standards. EOCEP examination scores count 20 percent in the calculation of a student’s final grade in each course. To meet federal accountability requirements, the EOCEP in English/language arts, mathematics, and science must be administered to all public school students, including those students as required by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) and by Title 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). To receive a South Carolina high school diploma, students are required to pass a high school credit course in science, and a high school credit course in United States history in which the state’s end of course examinations are administered.

 

SC READY and SCPASS
English Language Arts and Mathematics, Grades 3–8
Science, Grades 4 and 6

Last 20 days of school

The South Carolina College-and Career-Ready Assessments (SC READY) are statewide assessments in English language arts and mathematics that will meet all of the requirements of Acts 155 and 200, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) , the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA), and the Assessments Peer Review guidance.  All students in grades 3–8 are required to take the SC READY except those students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the South Carolina Alternate Assessment (SC-Alt).

SCPASS is a statewide science assessment. All students in grades 4 and 6 are required to take the SCPASS science except those who qualify for the South Carolina Alternate Assessment (SC-Alt).

PSAT
Grade 10

Mid-October annually
 
The PSAT/NMSQT is the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The PSAT is a great primer for the SAT, and even the ACT, but it’s more than just a trial run. PSAT scores are used to identify students who may be successful in Advanced Placement courses via AP Potential, a free, web-based tool that allows schools to generate rosters of students who are likely to score a 3 or higher on a given AP Exam based on their performance on the PSAT/NMSQT. Additionally, 11th graders electing to take (at their own cost) the PSAT may qualify for National Merit Scholars and award merit scholarships. 

The PSAT has two sections: Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.  Students will be asked passage-based questions – sometimes accompanied by tables, graphs, and charts – and math problems drawing upon algebra, geometry, and a little trigonometry.
 

Career Readiness Assessments
Ready to Work (R2W) and the Essential Soft Skills Assessment
Grade 11 and electively 12th

March annually

Ready to Work (R2W) is a career readiness assessment administered to all eleventh grade students to determine student achievement in three key subjects: Applied Mathematics, Locating Information, and Reading for Information. R2W also includes the Essential Soft Skills assessment that provides information about a student’s skills in the following five areas: Cooperation with Others, Resolving Conflicts and Negotiation, Solving Problems and Making Decisions, Observing Critically, Taking Responsibility for Learning. The Essential Soft Skills assessment focuses on skills such as problem solving, goal setting, decision-making, and self-direction, because these skills play a vital role in workplace success. For purposes of the testing program, grade eleven students are defined as students in their third year of high school after their initial enrollment in the ninth grade.
 

College Entrance Assessments
School-Day ACT and School-Day SAT
Grade 11 (and 12 if a student did not take either assessment the previous year)

February – March annually

Districts are required to offer eleventh grade students the option of taking either the SAT or the ACT. These assessments are offered at no cost to students and are administered during the school day instead of a Saturday. They are the same assessments as students would typically pay to take on Saturdays. The choice of which assessment to take is determined at the student level, and, in consultation with their parents, students may elect not to take either assessment. For purposes of the testing program, grade eleven students are defined as students in their third year of high school after their initial enrollment in the ninth grade.

The SAT is a timed multiple-choice examination consisting of the following tests: Reading, Writing and Language, Mathematics and the SAT Essay. Although some colleges do not require the SAT Essay exam, the SC Department of Education requires districts to include this test in the School Day SAT administration. The ACT is also a timed multiple-choice examination that includes the following tests: English, Reading, Math, Science, and Writing.

In addition to these state mandated assessments, Richland School District Two uses the following assessments to meet instructional

Gifted and Talented Assessments
Raven’s Coloured Progressive Matrices 
Grade 1

February – March annually

The Raven’s Coloured Progressive Matrices assessment is a nonverbal test made up of 36 multiple choice questions. The tests were originally developed by John C. Raven in 1936 to measure the test-taker's reasoning ability. In each test item, the student is asked to identify the missing element that completes a puzzle/pattern. The student’s score is calculated based upon the number of questions answered correctly and the student’s age (in years and months) at the time of the assessment, the results of which are used to help identify students for Gifted and Talented programs.

PSAT/NMSQT
Grades 9 and 11 (electively)

Mid-October annually

The PSAT/NMSQT is the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The PSAT is a great primer for the SAT, and even the ACT, but it’s more than just a trial run. PSAT scores are used to identify students who may be successful in Advanced Placement courses via AP Potential, a free, web-based tool that allows schools to generate rosters of students who are likely to score a 3 or higher on a given AP Exam based on their performance on the PSAT/NMSQT. Additionally, 11th graders electing to take (at their own cost) the PSAT may qualify for National Merit Scholars and award merit scholarships. 

The PSAT has two sections: Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.  Students will be asked passage-based questions – sometimes accompanied by tables, graphs, and charts – and math problems drawing upon algebra, geometry, and a little trigonometry.