Standard 13


STEM CONTENT KNOWLEDGE: Students demonstrate STEM content knowledge representative of STEM literacy outcomes that prepare them for the next level of learning and work. 

SC PASS Data demonstrates student growth and mastery over time and in comparison with similar schools.

STEM initiatives and inquiry-based instruction at Michael C. Riley have resulted in overall growth in the engineering practices, as well as specific content areas related to STEM. Specifically, our students’ significant progress is demonstrated in our fourth grade SC PASS Science scores. As demonstrated on the attached graph, the percentage of fourth graders scoring Meets or Exceeds Expectations on SC PASS Science has increased each year, from 70.3% in 2016 to 88.8% in 2019. Within each subcategory of Hispanic students, White students, students in poverty, and students with limited English proficiency, all have shown similar growth over this time period.

Although fourth grade student data is used to demonstrate the growth of student mastery, the foundations that contribute to the demonstration of learning standards in all STEM disciplines are created throughout the grade levels. Thus, the growth demonstrated through fourth grade data is a result of practices ingrained throughout the school and grade levels. 

In addition to demonstrating growth over time, current SC PASS scores present our students’ high level of overall achievement, as evidenced by the fact that our percentage of students meeting or exceeding expectations is greater than the district and state averages for each of the past three years. Furthermore, it should be noted that in the most recent testing year, M.C. Riley ranked second in Beaufort County School District in terms of achievement on SC PASS Science.


Michael C. Riley has had a steadily growing Hispanic student population since 2010, reaching its highest point of 62% in 2018 and maintaining that capacity in 2019.  Our Hispanic population is largely comprised of immigrant families from Central and South America, with the majority of the families speaking only Spanish in their homes.  The increasing number of Hispanic students has resulted from multiple sources including a surge of “newcomer” immigrants arriving from other countries, rezoning a neighborhood from an overcrowded school, and low-income housing available in the means of a mobile home park in our school zone.  The white student population has also decreased by 6% over the past four years due to rezoning. These changes in student demographics have presented challenges in increasing student achievement on SC Ready Math and Reading. However, M.C. Riley has experienced the above-referenced continuous growth on the SC PASS Science assessment. 

Michael C. Riley Demographics

We feel that our integrated STEM instructional approach has provided all students with hands-on opportunities to learn and demonstrate their understanding of core science concepts, while also allowing students to make concrete connections to real-world applications.  Our students are provided with opportunities to make academic connections to content that they may not otherwise experience outside of the school setting, which further solidifies their learning and helps them continue to increase their academic achievement.