Students interested in entering AAST in the ninth grade because of their interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) must follow the district-established timeline when submitting their application. Online applications are available through the AAST website and the Horry County Schools website. Applications must be completed online.
How are applications evaluated?
Each application is scored based on a pre-determined rubric. The rubric consists of three parts:
achievement (30%), and
and interest in STEM areas (40%).
The performance component consists of several standardized measures, including the student's highest Lexile score. Students must have a minimum Lexile score of 1000 since the STEM program requires strong reading skills in content areas such as science. In addition, we analyze MAP and PASS performance. If a student has not taken one of these assessments, we accept and analyze other nationally normed assessments.
Next, the student's coursework and performance for the first term of his/her 8th grade year is evaluated. The final component evaluated is the student's interest in STEM fields and in the STEM program of study. Interest is measured through responses to the essay questions included on the application. The essays are scored using a rubric designed to award points based on the student's expression of interests and goals related to STEM areas of study, and each essay is read and evaluated by three scorers from the district office to ensure consistency.
Using all three weighted components allows us to ensure that students who are accepted to STEM have the ability, skills, habits of mind, and interest to succeed in the program.
Once all applications have been evaluated, the students are ranked based on the total score from all three components. In this way, the students are ranked based on the total score from all three components. In this way, the student is evaluated based on his total score as compared with the scores of all other applications for a given year.
Is there a waiting list?
There isn't a waiting list for the STEM program. We send acceptance letters to more than 150 students because we know some applicants will change their minds or leave the area. Because all secondary programs complete their master schedules before the end of May, it is difficult to transfer additional students after this process begins.