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Students to take CRCT this week

COVINGTON - Students in first through eighth grades in Newton and Rockdale counties' public schools will take the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests starting Monday.

"The CRCT is designed to measure how well students acquire the skills and knowledge described in the Georgia Performance Standards," according to the Georgia Department of Education. "The assessments yield information on academic achievement at the student, class, school, system and state levels. This information is used to diagnose individual student strengths and weaknesses as related to the instruction of the GPS, and to gauge the quality of education throughout Georgia."

Students in first-through eighth grades will take tests in the subject areas of reading, English/language arts and math; students in grades three through eight also will take tests in science and social studies.

Testing material should cover ideas that students have learned in class up until their point in school, and therefore schools warn that students should not cram for the tests.

Instead, they should prepare mentally and physically ahead of time in order to be in good condition to take the test, according to the school systems.

"Make sure your child gets plenty of sleep each night before the test," said Dr. Sheila Thomas, testing director at the Newton County School System. "Being in attendance and on time each day is very important. ... Above all, (parents should) encourage your child to do his or her very best without creating anxiety."

In addition to other data, scores and attendance results from the test will count toward each school's Adequate Yearly Progress, which is required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act and determines whether a school is placed on a state's needs improvement list. Third-, fifth- and eighth-graders also must pass the reading and math tests in order to be promoted to the next grade level.

More information about the CRCT is available on the Georgia Department of Education Web site, www.doe.k12.ga.us, and practice tests also are available on that site as well as at www.georgiaoas.org.