CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina state school report card has been released as the school year is getting underway.

The report card is reflective of the 2020-2021 school year and include results from the state assessments administered in Spring 2021, the first since the start of the pandemic.

“The state assessment results reflected on the 2021 report cards confirm the alarming trends we have observed from locally administered formative assessments throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “These achievement gaps, particularly amongst our youngest learners, demonstrate just how much learning has been disrupted and how important it is for every student to be face to face with their teacher every day. Fortunately, every school and district has been equipped with the tools to track and respond to unfinished learning long before the release of these results and have already begun to deploy resources and programs to address individual student needs and overall academic achievement.”

South Carolina saw a decline in overall state assessment participation rates when compared to 2018-2019. The result of the decline is reflective of the United States Department of Education’s granting of flexibility in administering assessments and waiving federal accountability requirements.

Due to the impact the pandemic had on school operations and instruction during the 2020-2021 school year and adjusted requirements from the United States Department of Education, the descriptive overall ratings of Excellent, Good, Average, Below Average, and Unsatisfactory that are assigned to schools as well as individual report card indicators do not appear on the 2021 report cards.

State Education Superintendent Molly Spearman says right now her biggest concern is students once again being forced to learn virtually as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

“Our students perform at their best when they are face-to-face inside the classroom with their teacher,” said Superintendent Spearman. “We believe these results are an anomaly and we can best change that by ensuring every school remains open and is a safe environment for our students to learn and our teachers to educate them.”

South Carolina has received a total of $3.3 billion in COVID-19 relief funding and recently had its American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief plan approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

The two main key focus of the plan are addressing the academic impact of lost instructional time due to the pandemic and also focusing on early learning.

You can view the complete state assessment results and report cards from 2020-2021 here.