South Carolina

Academic Achievement

Student performance in South Carolina is very weak. Fourth graders stand 7 percentage points below the national average for students at or above the proficient level on the NAEP math exam. The national average is 42%.

Academic Achievement for Low-Income and Minority Students

South Carolina earns a low grade on academic achievement for low-income and minority students, with only 13% of African-American 4th graders scoring at or above the proficient level on the NAEP reading exam.

Return on Investment

Student achievement in South Carolina is low relative to state spending after controlling for cost of living. 

Truth in Advertising: Student Proficiency

South Carolina posts below average marks on the credibility of its student proficiency scores. The grade is based on the difference between the percentage of students identified as proficient in reading and math on the 2011 state exams and the percentage identified as proficient on the 2011 NAEP reading and math tests.

Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness

South Carolina earns a failing grade preparing its students for college and careers. The Palmetto State’s high school graduation rate is a mere 72%, well below the national average.

21st Century Teacher Force

South Carolina does an average job of creating a strong teacher workforce. The state is an average performer for retaining effective teachers but struggles to identify effective ones.

Parental Options

South Carolina does a good job providing parents with strong school choice options. The state does not cap charter school growth, and it has a limited private school choice program for students with special needs.

Data Quality

South Carolina earns a below average grade collecting and reporting high-quality education data. While South Carolina is a national leader in sharing teacher performance data with teacher training programs to improve results, it does not have a longitudinal data system and data cannot be effectively used by stakeholders.


South Carolina receives an above average grade employing technology to provide quality instruction and personalized learning. Students have access to an array of high-quality digital learning options, but the state’s funding stream could be improved to broaden access.

International Competitiveness

South Carolina earns a low grade preparing its students to compete in a global economy, with only 28% of students proficient in reading and math compared with an international standard.

Fiscal Responsibility

South Carolina receives average marks on fiscal responsibility. Sixty-five percent of the state’s pension is funded, and its most recent contribution was 100%.