COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/WVOC) - Letter grades for nearly half of South Carolina's school districts dropped during the past school year, but education officials blame more ambitious performance goals rather than poorer achievement by students.
The state Education Department released report card data Thursday that shows 39 of the state's 85 school districts went down at least a letter grade this school year.
Only eight districts improved by at least a letter grade.
Three-quarters of all school districts got a C or better, while eight districts were given an F.
Twenty-one of the state's nearly 1,100 schools went from an A to an F in one year.
Education officials say that reflects higher goals set for the 2012-2013 school year compared to the year before.
Other data released Thursday shows 82% of South Carolina high school students passed the exit exam on the first try – the fourth straight year of improvement there.