COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP)-- The number of South Carolina public schools and districts receiving ``excellent'' or ``good'' ratings increased significantly this year.
That's despite a steady rise in the percentage of students living in poverty.
Data released Tuesday shows the state had a 27 percent increase in districts and 19 percent increase in individual schools achieving those top two rankings on 2012 report cards.
That means 61 percent of students attend the state's best-rated schools, compared with 9 percent who attend the worst. Thirty percent attend schools with ``average'' performance.
However, the report cards also show the state's worst-performing schools appear stuck there. Thirty schools have been rated ``at risk'' for four consecutive years.
Three of every four high school students statewide graduated on time this year.