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Home> Partner Success Stories | Rock Hill Schools

Inquiry-Based STEM Instruction Results
in Higher PASS Scores for 4th Grade Students

With over 17,000 students and 27 schools, South Carolina's Rock Hill Schools is the largest of four school districts in York County. Rock Hill is a member of Digital Promise's League of Innovative Schools, and is transforming classrooms by providing all students with challenging work that engages them in the learning process and prepares them for successful futures.

Rock Hill Schools

Rock Hill Schools, SC


    Rock Hill Schools is dedicated to bridging the digital divide and they identified the following goals in order to prepare their students to be 21st Century learners:
    • Develop highly qualified professional staff prepared to address the instructional needs of 21st Century learners
    • Enhance challenge-based learning classroom instruction
    • Build teacher and student capacity for digital learning
    • Support “iRock”, a community-wide 1-1 initiative that provides iPads to every student for use at school and at home


    • Science Techbook™ Digital TextbookThe district implemented the Discovery Education Science Techbook digital textbook across grades K-5, specifically to increase students’ and teachers’ proficiency in the use of technology and increase the use of inquiry-based STEM instruction.
    • Professional DevelopmentDuring the 2012-2013 school year all K-5 teachers were provided with professional development on the use of Science Techbook™ but were left free to decide whether or not they would use it in their classrooms.
    • Evaluation and Research Services: Merola Research was engaged to design and implement a research study to determine the impact the use of Science Techbook™ has on student achievement.


    Percentage of Students Scoring at the Exemplary Level on
    2013 Science Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS)

    Merola Research analyzed data from the 2013 Science Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS) in science for fourth-grade students to identify differences in student science achievement among those using and not using Science Techbook™:
    • Students were placed into comparable groups using propensity score matching.
    • Students were matched on 2012 Math PASS scores, gender, ELL, Special Education, race, Free or Reduced Price Lunch status, teacher years of service and teacher certification.

    After one year of implementation in Rock Hill Schools, fourth grade students whose teachers used Discovery Education Science Techbook scored higher on average on the 2013 Science PASS than students whose teachers did not use Science Techbook.

    Results indicate that, on average, students of teachers using Discovery Education Science Techbook and teachers not using Science Techbook scored at or above the Proficient Level on the 2013 Science PASS at similar rates. However, students in classrooms using Science Techbook were more likely to score at or above the Exemplary Level performance than students in classrooms not using Science Techbook.

    Read the Results

    Download the executive summary and full report for a closer look at Rock Hill's success.

    Rock Hill Schools
    2014 Executive Summary

    Rock Hill Schools
    2014 Full Report

    Continued Success

    Rock Hill's marked improvement doesn't end here. A 2016 study showed Science Techbook users outperformed their peers on the SCPASS exam.

    Read the latest results

    What People Are Saying


    "This study shows that Discovery Education's Techbook series has the power to advance achievement when used by talented educators who are deeply committed to student success and passionate about transforming the learning experience with digital media."

    Dr. Harriet Jaworowski
    Associate Superintendent for Instruction and Accountability
    Rock Hill Schools


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