Local students begin taking CRCT Monday

COVINGTON -- Students in Newton and Rockdale county public schools are scheduled to begin the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests on Monday and Tuesday.

"The (tests) are assessments designed to measure student acquisition of the knowledge and skills set forth in the state's Georgia Performance Standards (curriculum)," said Carl Skinner, director of Testing at the Newton County School System. "Students have been working on these tests indirectly all year. ... (Teachers) have worked with practice tests and simulations to ensure the students will be ready academically, as well as comfortable with the testing process."

Students in grades one through eight are required by the Georgia Department of Education to take the tests, which provide them with multiple-choice questions in the areas of reading, English/language arts, math, science and social studies.

In Newton County, students in grades one through eight are scheduled to take the reading portion of the CRCT on Monday, language arts on Tuesday and math on Wednesday. Students in grade three through eight will take the science portion Thursday and the social studies portion Friday.

In Rockdale County, students will take the reading portion Tuesday, language arts on Wednesday and math on Thursday before taking science on April 27 and social studies on April 28. Make-ups are scheduled for April 23, 26, 29 and 30.

Each content area consists of two sections that take 45 to 70 minutes with a 10-minute break between each section.

Students will need to bring pencils to the test, and they will be provided with scratch paper for the math section; they cannot use a calculator unless they meet certain qualifications.

NCSS and RCPS officials tell students to use Web sites like www.georgiaoas.org and the GaDOE's Web site, www.doe.k12.ga.us, for additional help.

Students should expect to receive their results electronically from the school system by mid-May.

The students in third, fifth and eighth grades must meet or exceed standards -- or pass the test -- in reading, and fifth- and eighth-grade students also must meet or exceed the standards in math to be promoted to the next grade level. Students meet the state standard by scoring an 800 to 849 on a 950-point test, and they exceed the standard by scoring an 850 to 950.

It is also possible to pass the test over the summer or be promoted to the next grade level after school-parent conferences.

CRCT data, as well as other factors like testing participation and attendance, will be collected to determine a school's Adequate Yearly Progress, as required under the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Schools and school systems in Georgia that don't meet AYP may be placed on the state's Needs Improvement List, depending on their past performance.