COVINGTON - Officials at the Newton County School System are hoping summer retake scores from the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests and the Georgia High School Graduation Tests will improve their Adequate Yearly Progress marks later this year.
Linda Hayden, associate superintendent for curriculum, reported to the Newton County Board of Education this month that 1,187 students in third, fifth and eighth grades retook 1,462 tests in reading and math over the summer.
Although all students in grades one through eight must take the tests, students in third, fifth and eighth grades are considered to be in critical areas - students in these grades must pass the reading section, and fifth- and eighth-grade students also must pass the math section to be promoted to the next grade level. However, some students who do not pass the makeup test may go on to the next grade level after mediation between the parent and teacher.
This year, NCSS is reporting that about 41 percent of 202 third-graders passed the reading section of the retest CRCT this summer; 45 percent of 242 fifth-graders; and about 53 percent of 105 eighth-graders. Additionally, about 28 percent of 420 fifth-graders passed the math section and nearly 30 percent of 493 eighth-graders.
"We want them much higher, but if you look across the state, math is still low," Hayden said, adding that the system would like to see scores above the state pass rates.
According to CRCT results for NCSS that were released in July, a majority of schools scored below state averages. Additionally, system-level results show that the average percentages of first- through eighth-grade students in NCSS to meet or exceed standards, or pass the test, were below state pass averages in all areas that the GaDOE reported this year.
In addition to the CRCT makeups this summer, 137 high school students took 229 tests in four areas of the Georgia High School Graduation Tests, which students must pass in order to receive a high school diploma from a Georgia public school.
Nearly 38 percent of 61 students passed the language arts section, 40 percent of 35 students passed math, 30 percent of 66 students passed science and nearly 30 percent of 67 students passed social studies. Hayden said some of the students are taking the graduation tests for the third and fourth times.
These makeup scores will count in the final reporting of Adequate Yearly Progress, which is usually released this month. According to initial AYP reports, the school system and seven of its schools failed to initially meet AYP, which is determined through tests like the CRCT and the GHSGT, as well as attendance and test participation, among other factors.